Corn School: In-crop drag hose application gives more bang for your manure buck

Ever consider applying manure on corn in-crop using drag hose application?

Many growers are scared off by the idea of dragging a hose over growing corn plants, but if your timing is right you can limit population loss, reduce compaction, and increase nutrient use efficiency, yield, and profitability.

That’s the message Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs field crop sustainability specialist Christine Brown shared with growers attending the recent Farm Smart Expo near Elora, Ontario.

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Brown demonstrates how plants can withstand the impact of a drag hose when manure is applied up to the 4-collar stage of corn. She notes that research work by Ohio State University manure management specialist Glen Arnold shows little variation when manure is applied at the V1 to V4 stage using the drag hose method. Yields drop drastically, however, when manure is applied at V5.

Christine Brown demonstrates in-crop drag hose manure application. Story continues after video.

The drag hose strategy should have significant appeal for corn growers who have access to manure, especially hog manure. A four-year study completed by Arnold showed a 15-bushel-per-acre advantage for hog manure applied at V3 compared to 28% UAN, notes Brown. “At $4 per bushel that’s $60 per acre. That’s a pretty good yield incentive.”

Brown admits that once growers get past the idea of running over growing corn plants, finding time to apply manure during the busy spraying and haying season remains a challenge. However, she notes that a growing number of custom applicators across Ontario have the necessary equipment and know-how to apply manure in-crop in an economical and timely manner.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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