Corn Yield Response to Nitrogen Fertilizer Timing and Deficiency Level
- Peter C. Scharf *,
- William J. Wiebold and
- John A. Lory
Nitrogen fertilizer is typically applied to corn (Zea mays L.) shortly before planting, but there are several reasons why later N applications may be of interest: to spread work away from the busy planting season, to avoid the frequent wet field conditions in spring, to reduce or remedy in-season N loss in wet years, or to allow use of in-season diagnostic tools. One of the obstacles to the use of later N applications is the fear that irreversible yield loss will occur due to N stress. Our objective was to evaluate the yield impact of delaying N applications until the late vegetative growth stages and as far as silking. We conducted a total of 28 experiments with timing of a single N application as the experimental treatment. We found little or no evidence of irreversible yield loss when N applications were delayed as late as stage V11, even when N stress was highly visible. There was weak evidence of minor yield loss (about 3%) when N applications were delayed until stage V12 to V16. Only 3 of the 28 experiments had N applications later than V16—all were at silking and relative yields were 0.71, 0.89, and 0.95. Though full yield was not achieved when N applications were delayed until silking, yield was still highly responsive to N application at this stage—yield response exceeded 2.2 Mg ha−1 in all three experiments.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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