Much of the 2013 U.S. corn crop was planted rapidly, even if not at a record-setting pace. Not only was planting compressed into a narrow window beyond most grower's comfort zone, but field conditions prevented some growers from applying fertilizer at or right before planting. This scenario puts pressure on growers to augment their crop's nitrogen (N) needs during the season, after the time-sensitive operation of planting is finished.
It is looking like the 2014 planting season is going to be a repeat for much of the Corn Belt, thanks to the combination of a long, hard winter and plenty of rain this spring.
A recent post on Ag Professional discusses the added complication of potentially low N supplies due to barge and rail delays. Specifically, this piece highlights the fact that corn requires very little N early on, so applying N after planting is a good solution to logistical challenges around planting time.
Thus, not only can in-season N applications (sidedressing) help solve logistical challenges at planting, it plays right into the 4Rs (right source, right rate, right place, and right timing) of nutrient stewardship promoted by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and others.