Row Spacing, Plant Density, and Nitrogen Effects on Corn Silage
- William J. Cox *a and
- Debbie J.R. Cherneyb
Dairy producers in the northeastern USA who grow corn (Zea mays L.) forage in narrow rows plant at 125000 plants ha−1 and fertilize at 225 kg N ha−1 because they believe narrow-row corn yields best at high plant densities and N rates. We evaluated corn in 1996 and 1997 at two row spacings (0.38 and 0.76 m), two harvest densities (80000 and 116000 plants ha−1), and six N rates (0, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 kg ha−1) to determine if row spacing × plant density × N rate interactions existed for dry matter (DM) and calculated milk yields. No interactions existed for DM yield, forage quality characteristics, and milk yields. Corn had greater DM and milk yields at 0.38- (20.3 and 16.1 Mg ha−1, respectively) vs. 0.76-m spacing (18.9 and 15.2 Mg ha−1, respectively). Dry matter and milk yields had quadratic-plus-plateau responses to N rates with maximum yields (20.6 and 17.1 Mg ha−1, respectively) at an N rate of 150 kg ha−1 Nitrogen accumulation at harvest, which had a row spacing × N rate interaction, had a linear response to N rates at 0.38-m spacing and a quadratic response at 0.76-m spacing. Dairy farmers in the northeastern USA can produce corn silage at similar plant densities and N fertility, regardless of row spacing. Dairy producers who have excess animal waste could apply slightly more N to narrow-row corn silage because it accumulates more N at harvest.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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