You’ve gotten results from corn stalk nitrate samples collected this fall. (Corn stalk nitrate analysis form.) Now, what do the results mean? The stalk nitrate test is based on the concentration of nitrate-N in the lower corn stalk (8 inch segment from 6 to 14 inches above the ground) when the plant reaches maturity (See Cornstalk testing to evaluate nitrogen management, PM 1584). In general, a larger amount of plant-available N in the soil during the time period before plant maturity results in a greater concentration of nitrate in the lower stalk. However, the stalk nitrate-N concentration can be greatly influenced by other external and internal plant factors.
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