In-season N management

Melissa SandfortAudio, General, Media Room, Satellite

The key to maximizing corn yields.

Planting is complete, fields have been sprayed for weeds and insects, and as you drive by your fields and gaze at the first three rows of healthy corn from your truck window, everything looks as it should…but is it? It’s impossible to know exactly what is going on throughout your entire field, but you can’t forget about your crops after planting and spraying is complete. With high corn prices, you have the potential to make record profits with continued mid- to late-season crop management.

Good crop management is vital to a successful growing season, from planting all the way through harvest. One way to maximize the investment in a field is by using aerial images, which help identify varying nitrogen needs across a field. This proven technology also pin-points specific areas of a field that either require more nitrogen or other inputs, or segments that already have what they need.

OptiGro.jpg The John Deere Agri Services OptiGro™ system gives growers a “bird’s eye” view of plant needs during the season. “It’s impossible for anyone to predict exactly how much fertilizer is appropriate for different parts of the field,” says Dr. Tracy Blackmer, Iowa Soybean Association. “Having the infrared imagery that will tell you how well the crop is doing is just a whole new level of management.”

In the same regard, growers are always looking for ways to maximize yield, especially with soaring corn prices. Aerial imagery is able to detect revealing information about each field, and when used appropriately with accurate interpretation, it is easier to detect nitrogen needs in corn plants.

Learning how to better manage nitrogen is an area growers are looking to improve. “I definitely see that it’s going to add to the bottom line. It’s going to help me manage, season-long, my nitrogen inputs that I haven’t been able to do in the past. There was just no way to do it and now there is a way,” says Bob Wieland, corn and soybean grower from Laura, Ill. “But together, I think that we can really optimize these yields.”

As you begin the final stretch of this growing season, don’t forget about your crop – nitrogen management must be maintained until tasseling. So the next time you’re driving by your crops, remember that OptiGro imaging can see more than you can.

Corn growers wanting more information about remote sensing and a list of local providers for the OptiGro system should visit, e-mail or call 800-518-0472.

(click on links to hear audio sound bites from Blackmer and Wieland)