"We are losing some nitrate-N from the soil due to this rain in the wetter areas that are now receiving rain," says Fawcett. "But I still think there is potential for many fields to have more carryover nitrogen than we have in a normal year just because it was so dry last year. It's hard to guess how much carryover nitrogen is there in the soil. That's why you really need to be pulling some soil samples if you want to adjust your nitrogen fertilizer application rate this spring. And the time to do that would be after this rain—before you apply nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. Then this rain would be accounted for and we could see how much N was still there in the soil."
What about potential for herbicide carryover this year due to 2012 drought?
It's not too late to get a soil sample and have it tested for N content before you plant corn this spring. If you haven't yet applied your spring nitrogen fertilizer it shouldn't take more than a day or two the soil test results back from the testing lab. "You can pull some soil samples and see where you are in terms of Nitrate N content in the soil and see if you can reduced your nitrogen application rate somewhat this spring," says Fawcett. "But for the farmers who haven't received a lot of rain this past week, that's where the potential is for cutting back on your nitrogen application rate this spring."
Any potential for any herbicide carryover this spring--since last year was so dry? "That's another concern, and another reason to not be pushing it on the planting date and not be planting when soil temperatures are cold. Corn may be taking a long time to germinate if it's planted in those cooler than desirable soils. "If we do have a little bit of herbicide carryover from last year's soybeans, you're just putting another stress on the corn you are planting in that field this spring," says Fawcett. "So whatever you can do to make sure you are not putting undue stress on that corn seedling is just going to make the crop better able to handle some potential herbicide carryover in certain fields."
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