• Feb 28, 2018

The Significance of Day One

Your seed has the greatest yield potential the day it’s planted. From that moment on, it faces stresses that diminish the number of bushels you’ll eventually get at harvest. It takes intensive management from day one to get the most from your genetics.
Control what you can
Some stresses a crop faces are entirely out of your control. But doing everything you can to start your crops off strong makes them more resilient to stress, including unavoidable environmental factors. One way to do that is to wait for suitable tillage and planting conditions. Establishing a vigorous and even crop starts with a good seedbed. Playing the waiting game in spring can be hard, but holding out for suitable conditions may pay dividends at the end of the season.
Feed crops all season long
Just like you and me, plants need proper nutrition to carry out physiological processes that promote healthy growth. Providing nutrients when crops need them can make the difference between achieving average and exceptional yield.
At planting, a balanced starter fertilizer and plant growth regulator program can help promote vigorous germination and better root growth. When we think of starter fertilizers, phosphorus usually comes to mind because it tends to be most limited by cool, wet spring soils. But other macro- and micronutrients that are taken up over the entire growing season (nitrogen, potassium, manganese and zinc, for example) can also be beneficial when supplied in small concentrations at planting.
Plant growth regulators like Ascend® SL and Optify®/Stretch give plants an extra early boost by establishing a more robust root system, larger leaves and wider stems.
After you’ve applied a starter fertilizer, it’s important to continue feeding plants throughout the growing season. At V5, the corn ear is determined which starts the yield-setting process. It’s a good time to consider a foliar or early side-dress fertilizer application to help maintain yield potential.  
The bottom line is that you can’t go back and change management decisions that were made early in the season. The trajectory of your crop’s success begins on day one.
With the growing season right around the corner, we’re here to help you with your holistic plant nutrition plan. In the coming weeks, we’ll cover split-application strategies and how crop modeling fits into plant health. We’ll continue to explore all aspects of plant nutrition throughout the year right here on the Growing Knowledge blog, so be sure to check back for more plant health tips.