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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Fertility & Crop Nutrition

Can Manure Replace the Need for Starter Nitrogen Fertilizer?


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 105 No. 6, p. 1597-1605
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Apr 21, 2013
    Published: September 6, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): qmk2@cornell.edu
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  1. Q. M. Ketterings *,
  2. G. S. Godwin,
  3. S. N. Swink and
  4. K. J. Czymmek
  1. Dep. of Animal Science, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


Current New York land grant university fertility guidelines for corn (Zea mays L.) recommend the use of 22 to 34 kg N ha–1 of band-applied starter fertilizer. On-farm research was conducted in 2006 and 2007 on a western New York dairy farm with an alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)–corn rotation to evaluate the need for starter N for corn in regularly manured fields. In 2009, the study was expanded to include 21 fields varying in soil type, manure history, and soil N supply potential as expressed by the Illinois soil N test (ISNT). At the western New York farm, there was no increase in corn silage yield or quality with starter N use in first-, second-, or fourth-year corn fields. The results of the statewide assessment also showed that for fields with optimal ISNT-N, manure could replace starter N without a decline in corn silage yield or quality. Starter N fertilizer application was needed for optimal yield in fields deficient or marginal in ISNT-N and without a manure history. For such fields, manure could replace the need for starter N as long as sufficient N was applied with the manure, indicated by corn stalk NO3 test (CSNT) results between 750 and 2000 mg NO3–N kg–1. A response of silage yield to starter N was common when CSNT-N was <750 mg NO3–N kg–1. We conclude that manure can replace the need for starter N, but rates should be adjusted to obtain CSNT values between 750 and 2000 mg kg–1.

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