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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Fertilizer Management

Starter Fertilizers for Corn on Soils Testing High in Phosphorus in the Northeastern USA


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 4, p. 1121-1127
    Received: July 27, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): gwr@psu.edu
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  1. Gregory W. Roth *,
  2. Douglas B. Beegle,
  3. Shaun M. Heinbaugh and
  4. Mark E. Antle
  1. Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802


Starter fertilizers with a high P analysis are commonly used in the northeastern USA for corn (Zea mays L.) production, despite many soils testing above optimum (>50 mg P kg−1). The objective of this study was to evaluate responses to high P starter fertilizers in a band 5 cm from the row compared to alternatives such as banded higher N or conventional and low-salt in-furrow fertilizers. Two studies were conducted during 2000 through 2003 in Pennsylvania. The first study was a 3-yr on-farm study conducted to evaluate an untreated check, (NH4)2SO4 (AS), and 10–13–8.3 (N–P–K) as starters at 41 locations across Pennsylvania on high P testing soils. Early growth increased by 17% using 10–13–8.3 and 15% using AS compared to the check. Grain yields were 3.3% higher than the check for the AS treatment. Yields from the 10–13–8.3 were not different than the check but averaged 2.0% higher. A second 3-yr study consisted of an untreated check, five banded granular starter fertilizer blends (10–13–8.3, 21–0-0–24, 16–3.5–6.7–16, 16–3.5–6.7, and 16–0-6.7–16) applied at 202 kg ha−1, and three liquid in-furrow treatments applied at 35 kg ha−1 (7–9.1–5.8, 7–7.4–2.5 and 7–7.8–7.5). Early growth and grain yield were significantly increased in 1 of 3 yr with some higher N starters. Eliminating starters, using higher N or in-furrow starters on high P soils all appear to be possible management alternatives to high P starters.

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