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Agronomy Journal Abstract - CORN

Comparison of Late-Season Diagnostic Tests for Predicting Nitrogen Status of Corn


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 93 No. 3, p. 590-597
    Received: July 14, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): rhf@psu.edu
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  1. Richard H. Fox *,
  2. William P. Piekielek and
  3. Kirsten E. Macneal
  1. Dep. of Agron., 116 ASI Building, Penn State Univ., University Park, PA 16802


We compared six late-season diagnostic tests for determining N adequacy in corn (Zea mays L.) in a 3-yr study in Pennsylvania. The six tests were: (i) the NO 3–N concentration of stalk sections at black layer; (ii) the NO 3–N concentration of stalk sections at the one-fourth milk line growth stage (MLGS), which allows corn grown for silage to be tested; (iii) the chlorophyll meter (CM) test at the one-fourth MLGS; (iv) the relative CM test (normalized values) at the one-fourth MLGS; (v) a visual test based on the number of green leaves below and including the ear leaf at the one-fourth MLGS; and (vi) a relative visual test (normalized values at the one-fourth MLGS). We found that with a critical level of 250 mg kg−1 NO 3–N, the stalk NO 3 test separated N-sufficient from N-deficient sites with approximately 93% accuracy when sampling was done at either the one-fourth MLGS or within several weeks after black-layer formation. It appears that the 250 mg kg−1 NO 3–N critical level can be used to accurately predict N adequacy for any sampling time between the one-fourth MLGS and a few weeks after black-layer formation. When drought-stressed fields were excluded or the CM readings normalized with a high-N reference plot in the field, the accuracy of the CM test at the one-fourth MLGS was approximately 92%. The visual test at the one-fourth MLGS was an accurate predictor of corn N status only when visual readings were normalized with a high-N reference plot. These results demonstrate that there are several late-season N tests that are suitable for making relatively accurate assessments of N sufficiency for corn silage and grain yields.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.93:590–597.