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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Starter Fertilizer Improves Corn Yield

Author
item Osborne, Shannon

Submitted to: State University Ag Report
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: March 24, 2005
Publication Date: March 25, 2005
Citation: Osborne, S.L. 2005. Starter fertilizer improves corn yield. South Dakota State University Soil/Water Research Report, Soil PR 04-39. Available http://plantsci.sdstate.edu/soiltest/data2004/PR%2004-39%202004%20Osborne%20Corn%20Starter.pdf.

Interpretive Summary: Proper fertility management in corn production is important both from an economic and environmental standpoint. A field study was conducted to investigate the effect of starter fertilizer on corn yield northern Great Plains. The study was established within a two-year corn/soybean rotation, with four replications. The experiment was carried out for four years (2000-2003). Starter fertilizer treatments consisted of four nitrogen rates (0, 7, 14, and 21 lb N ac-1). These N starter treatments contained phosphorus and potassium. An additional treatment of no starter fertilizer (no nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium) was also incorporated into the experiment. All starter fertilizer was applied at planting. An additional 75 lb N ac-1 was applied side-dress. Although the magnitude of grain yield varied for the four different growing seasons, largely due to rainfall, the yield trend was consistent with respect to treatment differences regardless of year. Comparison between the no starter (no nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium) treatment and the phosphorus and potassium treatment (no nitrogen + phosphorus and potassium) resulted in the largest yield increases, with yield increasing up to 36 % for the 2003 growing season. There was a significant positive response to increases in nitrogen rate for all years except the 2002 growing season, which was the lowest yielding year out of the four. Application of starter fertilizer can have a significant positive impact on yield and quality of corn grown in the northern Great Plains.

Technical Abstract: Proper fertility management in corn production is important both from an economic and environmental standpoint. A field study was conducted to investigate the effect of starter fertilizer on corn yield northern Great Plains. The experiment was established within a two-year corn/soybean rotation, with four replications. The experiment was carried out for four years (2000-2003). Starter fertilizer treatments consisted of four nitrogen (N) rates (0, 7, 14, and 21 lb N ac-1). These N starter treatments contained phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). An additional treatment of no starter fertilizer (no N, P or K) was also incorporated into the experiment. All starter fertilizer was applied at planting in a band 2 inches below and 2 inches to the side of the seed furrow. An additional 75 lb N ac-1 was applied side-dress at the V6 growth stage to all plots. Although the magnitude of grain yield varied for the four different growing seasons, largely due to rainfall, the yield trend was consistent with respect to treatment differences regardless of year. Comparison between the no starter (no N, P or K) treatment and the P and K treatment (no N + P and K) resulted in the largest yield increases, with yield increasing up to 36 % for the 2003 growing season. There was a significant positive response to increases in N rate for all years except the 2002 growing season, which was the lowest yielding year out of the four. Application of starter fertilizer can have a significant positive impact on yield and quality of corn grown in the northern Great Plains.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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