Video: 5-Minute Field Day on Corn Side-Dressing

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Is side-dressing your corn worth the work?

Side-dressing equipment and technology is emerging to help farmers improve yield. But is it worth the investment in time and equipment? A team of field crop agents from across the state worked together to answer this question.

In this video we take you to commercial farms, demonstrate side-dressing equipment and show you the results of our replicated research trial.

Treatments at all sites:

1) 0 lbs N

2) 150 lbs N pre-plant

3) 150 lbs N sub-surface center applied with coulter;

4) 150 lbs N surface dribble 4-6” from the corn stalk (Ydrop)

Y-Drop and Coulter rig

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s handmade Y-Drop and Coulter rig


The results showed that the Coulter and Y-drop were significantly similar in yield. While the Pre-plant treatment yielded significantly less. This site showed that split applications increase yield and that coulter and y-drop applications are similar.

Bar graph showing yield benefit of side-dressing compared to a preplant alone nitrogen application

Side-dressing significantly improves yield versus applying all of the crop’s nitrogen at planting.

We are continuing this project in 2021 funded by the North Carolina Corn Growers Association and are planning to hold small, in-person field days. Contact any of the agents in the video above for details.