Help Customers Improve Uptake
of N, P & K

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Yellow corn leaf lacking nutrients

Soil fertility is essential to maximizing yield potential, especially amid a hot and dry growing season like many farmers across the Midwest have experienced this year. Lack of moisture can limit the uptake of the most important crop nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

“N, P and K are the primary and most essential nutrients in crop production — they can make or break an entire crop,” says Taylor Ferguson, Nutrient Maximizer strategic account manager, Corteva Agriscience. “If your customers didn’t have the right fertility program in place, they could see major fluctuations in yield this year.”

Let’s break down each of these three key nutrients.

3 Key Nutrients for Growing High-yield Corn

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for growing high-yield corn. And although corn uses this nutrient throughout the growing season, plants generally take up most of the nitrogen they need prior to tassel:

  • 60% to 70% of available nitrogen is absorbed before the VT stage, making the first 75 days after planting critical for corn development. In fact, corn establishes yield potential in the first 30 to 40 days. The importance of nitrogen uptake during this time cannot be overstated, as it supports critical ear shoot development, kernel number and potential kernel size.
  • 30% to 40% of the remaining nitrogen is absorbed post-tassel between the R1 and R6 stages. Nitrogen availability during this period also is critical, as it supports ear and kernel development. Nitrogen also enables the plant to retain more green leaf area in late summer and early fall, which increases photosynthesis, carbohydrate production and grain yield.

When a corn plant cannot absorb enough nitrogen through the soil, the plant will become nutrient-deficient and will cannibalize its own internal nitrogen sources. That can lead to weakened stalks, stalk rot and yield loss.

Phosphorus stimulates early plant growth, giving crops a healthy start to the season. The main role of phosphorus is to transfer energy throughout the crop — which allows for better growth and crop maturity. Phosphorus-deficient corn plants are smaller and will grow slower than corn with adequate phosphorus availability. 

Potassium aids in the movement of water, nutrients and carbohydrates within the plant tissue. When potassium is unavailable for uptake, crop growth can be stunted, resulting in yield reductions.

Options for Improving Nutrient Availability

“Monitoring the availability of each of these soil nutrients is important,” Ferguson says. “In order to improve overall nutrient availability, your customers first need to make sure they are managing their N, P and K program and replacing any of those nutrients that were used by the crop the prior year.”

An important part of managing those nutrients is finding the right nutrient use efficiency solutions. Corteva Agriscience offers multiple products to help fit your customers’ needs:

  • Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizer can be used with UAN, urea and liquid manure. This stabilizer delivers maximum profit by extending nitrogen availability during corn’s key growth stages. It works underground, where up to 70% of nitrogen loss can occur through leaching into the ground or through denitrification into the atmosphere.
  • N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer can be applied with anhydrous ammonia and works underground to extend nitrogen availability.
  • PinnitMax® TG nitrogen stabilizer prevents volatilization of UAN and urea for up to 14 days. This protection helps ensure nitrogen gets to the root zone to maximize yield potential.
  • Utrisha® N is a foliar-applied biological that captures N from the atmosphere, making it available for crops like corn and soybeans to use throughout the growing season. This product can help supplement any applied nitrogen that may have been lost early in the growing season.
  • Utrisha® P allows customers to increase the ROI of their phosphorus investments. Utrisha P promotes healthier crops by increasing root growth for enhanced overall growth and resiliency. The bacteria in Utrisha P stimulate larger root development, allowing the crop to quickly intercept more nutrients and water for optimized yield potential.

Contact your local Corteva Agriscience representative or visit Corteva.us to learn more about improving nutrient availability with the products mentioned above.

Instinct NXTGEN®, PinnitMax® TG, Utrisha® N and Utrisha P are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Always read and follow label directions. 


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