Corn Hybrid-Starter Fertilizer Interaction for Yield and Lodging
The value of placing small amounts of soluble fertilizers in close proximity to the seed at corn (Zea mays L.) planting was debated in the early 1980s for corn grown in a high-yield environment, but is becoming an accepted practice in the southeastern USA. The objective of this study was to evaluate yield and lodging of several corn hybrids to starter fertilizer application in a high-yield environment. Starter and no-starter were the two fertility treatments. Starter was applied as NH4-polyphosphate (10-15-0) in a band on the soil surface at planting. Rainfall was measured, and irrigations scheduled with tensiometers. Starter fertilizer significantly increased grain yields compared to no-starter. Hybrid ✕ year and hybrid ✕ starter treatment interactions were significant. Certain corn hybrids were identified as positive changers (Funks G4733, Asgrow RX777, Sunbelt 1880, Pioneer 3320, Jacques JX247, Jacques 8400, Northrup King PX9581, and Coker 8680) that consistently yielded more with starter than others identified either as nonchangers or as negativechangers. Percent lodging generally was greater with no starter fertilizer (year ✕ starter and hybrid ✕ starter interactions were nonsignificant). Hybrid ✕ year interactions for percent lodging were significant. Certain corn hybrids (Jacques JX247, DeKalb DK748, and Jacques 8400) consistently exhibited less lodging than the hybrid mean when fertilized with a starter. The management implication is that certain corn hybrids may be profitably fertilized with a starter fertilizer but others may not, since they either do not respond (nonchangers) or respond negatively to starter fertilizer.
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