Submitted to: Fluid Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2012
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Citation: Kovar, J.L., Karlen, D.L. 2012. Value of fluid fertilizer in bio-energy production. Fluid Journal. 20:6-9.
Technical Abstract: In field trials, analysis of whole corn plants at V6 and ear leaves at mid-silk showed adequate levels of all macronutrients, which suggests that nutrient management was balanced both for conventional and intensively managed (twin-row) planting scenarios and the amount of stover removed from the field with the 2010 harvest. Management scenario, tillage, and previous stover removal did not affect corn grain yields, which varied from 172 to 182 bu/A in 2011. In addition, biochar application and cover crop growth had no effect on grain or stover yields. The amount of dry stover collected for the low-cut (90 percent stover removal) treatment averaged 2.9 tons/A compared to 1.8 tons/A for the high-cut (50%) treatment. In 2011, the intensively managed plots did not produce more grain or dry stover than the conventional plots. In a separate controlled-climate chamber study, biochar and phosphorus (P) fertilizer amendments affected soil P supply and corn seedling growth during five consecutive plant growth cycles. Plants grown in soil with only 100 lbs/A of P2O5 had greater shoot to root dry matter ratios for both legacy and fresh biochar treatments. Although cumulative shoot dry matter production tended to be higher for treatments without biochar, the overall agronomic efficiency of the P fluid fertilizer was improved by biochar application. Further statistical analysis of plant growth and nutrient uptake data is expected to provide a clearer picture of the fertilizer value of biochar, any biochar-fertilizer interactions, and how legacy or fresh biochar affect juvenile corn nutrition.