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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #369552

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: When to single or split apply nitrogen fertilizer to corn

item CLARK, JASON - South Dakota State University
item FERNANDEZ, FABIAN - University Of Minnesota
item CAMBERATO, JAMES - Purdue University
item CARTER, PAUL - Retired Non ARS Employee
item FERGUSON, RICHARD - University Of Nebraska
item FRANZEN, DAVID - North Dakota State University
item Kitchen, Newell
item LABOSKI, CARRIE - University Of Wisconsin
item NAFZIGER, EMERSON - University Of Illinois
item SAWYER, JOHN - Iowa State University

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2019
Publication Date: 11/10/2019
Citation: Clark, J., Fernandez, F.G., Camberato, J.J., Carter, P.R., Ferguson, R.B., Franzen, D.W., Kitchen, N.R., Laboski, C.A., Nafziger, E.D., Sawyer, J.E. 2019. When to single or split apply nitrogen fertilizer to corn [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual International Conference, November 10-13, 2019, San Antonio, Texas. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Split- relative to single-N applications near-planting are hypothesized to improve corn (Zea mays L.) grain yield, nitrogen recovery, and lessen environmental impacts of fertilization. A 49-site-year study across eight US Midwestern states was conducted to compare the effect of single- and split-N applications [45 kg/ha at planting + V9-sidedress (45+SD), and 90 kg/ha at planting + V9-sidedress (90+SD)] at an optimal and above optimal N rate on soil NO3-N and plant N uptake at tasseling and physiological maturity and grain yield. No differences in soil and plant responses between 45 and 90 kg N/ha applied at planting with the remainder at sidedress were found in 93-98% of sites, indicating that 45 kg N/ha near-planting is all that may be needed when using split-N applications. Nitrogen application timing regardless of N rate minimally effected soil NO3-N (< 35%) or plant responses (< 15%). Split-N applications had greater grain yield in areas with consistent precipitation around the sidedress application (Shannon Diversity Index > 0.56-0.59) to incorporate the fertilizer, and in sandy soils (sand > 4-10%) that had a greater potential for N loss. Single-N applications had greater grain yield in soils with more total N (> 2.1-2.4 g/kg) to support mineralization or greater cation exchange capacity (> 27-31 meq/100 g), silt (> 66-74%), or clay (> 24-37%) to better retain nutrients and water. Soil properties and weather conditions influenced the effect of N timing on soil N and plant responses and therefore need to be considered when choosing your N application timing(s).