Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

East-Central and Southeast Iowa Crop Information


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October 12, 2015




Stalk Quality


Corn stalk quality is deteriorating rapidly in many fields. Continue to monitor each hybrid in each field, inspecting each hybrid in the low areas of the field, in the high areas of the field, and at locations in between. Push a few plants sideways or pinch lower stalks to determine the stalk strength. Fields with plants that have weak stalks should be queued up to be harvested first. Bob Nielsen addresses this at


For corn that is lodged, farmers may need to adjust the corn head and, perhaps, the harvest pattern in the field. Mark Hanna provided a good summary at




If you are going to be storing grain, be sure you are following proper procedures. Charlie Hurburgh outlined them in this "oldie-but-goodie" article: We don't have all of the issues he mentioned, but the procedures still fit.




Phosphorus and Potassium


With low commodity prices this year and also projected for the 2016 crop, there is increased scrutiny of the potential return on investment for each crop input dollar for the 2016 crop, and this includes fertilizer dollars.


1.     If it is time to take soil samples, go ahead and do it. And sample intensively, such as in 2.5 acre grids or zone sampling. This costs a little more, but fertilizer is relatively expensive, so farmers want to be sure they are putting fertilizer where it is needed and not putting fertilizer where it is not needed.

2.     Compare the recommendations made by the soil testing laboratory with those in Pm-1688 "A General Guide for Crop Nutrient and Limestone Recommendations in Iowa" Some laboratories make recommendations that are "spot on" and others do not.

3.     Fertilizer application to soils testing Low or Very Low have a very good chance of providing a positive return on investment even with low commodity process. Fertilizer application to soils testing High or Very High have a small chance of providing a positive return on investment.


Antonio Mallarino provides more detail at




As always, be sure soil temperatures are 50 degrees or lower and falling before applying nitrogen sources, including manure. Last year, John Sawyer wrote a great article about what happens and why it is important, which can be found at


Soil temperatures can be monitored at





Ag Chemical Dealer Update

9:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Iowa City, IA

Details will soon be at:


Integrated Crop Management Conference

December 2-3, 2015

Ames, IA

Details will soon be at:


Crop Advantage Series

January 8, 2016 - Burlington, IA

January 14, 2016 - Moravia, IA

January 22, 2016 - Iowa City, IA

January 29, 2016 - Moline, IL

Details will soon be at:



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Iowa State University Extension Office.
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Last Update: October 12, 2015
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