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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 6, p. 1569-1574
    Received: Mar 26, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): sosborne@ngirl.ars.usda.gov
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Starter Nitrogen Fertilizer Impact on Soybean Yield and Quality in the Northern Great Plains

  1. S. L. Osborne * and
  2. W. E. Riedell
  1. USDA-ARS, North Central Agricultural Research Lab., 2923 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD 57006


Though there have been numerous studies on the effect of nitrogen (N) fertilization on soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], relatively few have investigated early season N application in the unique environment of the northern Great Plains. The objective of this research was to investigate the impact of starter N fertilization on soybean yield and quality in this cool environment. To achieve this objective a field experiment was established within a 2-yr corn (Zea mays L.)–soybean rotation, using a split-plot design with four replications. Whole plots were tillage [no-tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT)] with starter fertilizer (N source by rate) as the split plot treatments. Nitrogen was band applied at planting as either ammonium nitrate (AN) or urea (UR), at rates to supply 0, 8, 16, and 24 kg N ha−1 Yields were greater for the 2004 growing season than 2002 and 2003, possibly due to more favorable environmental conditions. In 2 of the 3 yr there was an increase in grain yield and early (V3–V4 and R1) plant biomass and plant N due to starter N. The initial increase in plant vigor resulted in a grain yield increase compared to the no N treatment. Analysis pooled over the 3 yr of the experiment showed an average yield increase of 6% for the 16 kg N ha−1 rate, compared to the no N treatment, with no difference in grain N or oil concentration. This research demonstrates that applying N as starter has the potential to increase soybean yield and early plant growth, but this may or may not translate into improved grain quality in the unique environments of the northern Great Plains.

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