Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 17, 2003
Publication Date: December 17, 2003
Citation: Kovar, J.L. 2003. Evaluating starter fertilizer placement options for corn [CD-ROM]. Indiana Crop Advisor Conference Abstracts. Purdue University. West Lafayette, IN.
The use of starter fertilizer has been a key management tool for corn (Zea mays L.) production in the Midwest for many years. Corn is most often planted from late April to the middle of May. During this period, low soil temperatures and high soil water content can inhibit root growth, leading to insufficient water and nutrient absorption for optimal shoot growth. Research has shown that application of starter fertilizer may alleviate nutrient stress associated with poor root growth. Proper placement of starter fertilizers in soil is just as important as choosing the correct amount to apply. Optimum placement of starters improves utilization by the corn root system, which improves early-season growth, and sets the stage for maximum yields. Due to the complexity of the plant-soil system, however, the most effective placement will vary with the type of nutrient(s) applied and the environment in which the crop is grown. In general, the starter material must increase the soil supply of the added nutrients, and the root system must be able to take advantage of the increase, for placement to be effective. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a brief overview of soil nutrient supply, factors affecting corn root growth, nutrient uptake by roots, and finally, the relationship of these soil and plant processes to effective starter fertilizer placement.