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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 3, p. 476-478
     
    Received: July 16, 1975


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doi:10.2134/agronj1976.00021962006800030011x

Defoliation and Fertilizer Nitrogen Effects on Nitrate-nitrogen Profiles in Maize1

  1. D. R. Hicks and
  2. R. H. Peterson2

Abstract

Abstract

Corn (Zea mays L.) vegetative tissue remaining after hail damage is often utilized for forage. Environmental stresses may cause levels of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) in plant tissue that are toxic to ruminants. This study was conducted to determine the effect of leaf blade removal (simulated hail damage) and N fertilization of the soil on the NO3-N profile of corn fodder.

Leaf blade removal of 0, 50, 100% was imposed at tasseling on the corn hybrid ‘Dekalb XL45A’ grown in soil fertilized with either 115 or 230 kg N/ha. Plants were sampled approximately weekly for 6 weeks after defoliation.

Both stalk and total fodder NO3-N concentration increased as either level of defoliation or N rate increased. Stalks of nondefoliated plants contained up to over 4,500 ppm (dry matter basis) NO3-N while stalks of plants having 50 and 100% of the leaf blades removed contained up to 5,000 and 5,500 ppm NO3-N, respectively.

When completely defoliated, fodder NO3-N concentration was as high as 1,900 ppm for corn receiving 115 kg N/ha. Fodder of 100%-defoliated plants receiving 230 kg N/ha contained as much as 2,300 ppm NO3-N.

These results suggest that corn fodder NO3-N concentration increases due to the defoliation caused by hail. Thus hail damage to corn fodder may increase the chances of NO3-N toxicity to animals, especially when high rates of fertilizer N are used.

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