Corn Responses to Chloride in Maximum Yield Research
Chloride nutrition of corn (Zea mays L.) was investigated to determine if Cl limits production in high-yield environments. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of Cl fertilization on a Freehold sandy loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Typic Hapludults) near Adelphia, NJ, using irrigation and intensive crop production practices. Corn was grown at 107 600 plant ha−1 with equidistant spacing. All plots received 454 kg K ha−1 using KOH, K2SO4, or KC1 to establish five treatments: 0, 50,100, 200, and 400 kg Cl ha−1. Positive responses of corn to added Cl were observed each year. In 1990, the Cl treatments averaged 1.1 Mg ha−1 more grain than the check yield of 11.3 Mg ha−1 (P = 0.08). In 1991, the check yield was 19.0 Mg ha−1 and the response to Cl was linear up to the 400 kg ha−1 rate, which yielded 20.5 Mg ha−1. In 1992, the Cl treatments averaged 0.5 Mg ha−1 more grain than the check yield of 14.5 Mg ha−1 (P = 0.07). Grain yields were positively correlated with increases in ear-leaf Cl concentration. Increases in grain yield were associated with increased ear size. Chloride did not increase stover yield. A linear decrease in incidence of stalk rot with Cl rate was observed in 1992. Results suggest that, when produced in high-yield environments, corn may respond to enhanced levels of Cl nutrition.
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