When weather conditions turn cold and wet, young corn plants can become stressed. That impacts their ability to take up nutrients. Often, under such cool and wet scenarios, corn may show signs of nitrogen deficiency, however, that does not always mean there is not enough N in the soil. Often, a warm and sunny period can prompt crop growth to resume and nutrient uptake to improve.
Symptoms of stress may dissipate rapidly. Where conditions are wet and cold, growers may consider use of a nitrification inhibitor to prevent nitrogen loss from volatilization, denitrification, or leaching. Where untreated N is applied followed by a two to three-week period of less than half an inch of rain, between 25-50 percent of the applied N can be lost to volatilization. Nitrification inhibitors can be used with anhydrous, urea, or liquid N to delay the conversion of ammonium to nitrate.
Protecting that investment and keeping where it needs to do its important work is vital to maximizing yield potential.