Nailing Fertilizer Timing and Placement for No-Till Corn

Consider split nitrogen applications, nutrient needs and fertilizer banding for a more efficient and environmentally responsible fertilizer program.

With low grain prices and concerns of nutrient runoff impacting the local environment, a big focus for growers is improving fertilizer-use efficiency.

At the 2016 Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference held in Ada, Ohio, this March, Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn shared what no-tillers and strip-tillers can do to better time and place their fertilizer applications to benefit both their crops and the environment.

Late ‘N’ Applications.

One management practice Vyn would like to see growers adopt is splitting up their nitrogen (N) so 25% of their total intended N amount for the corn season is applied after the V10 stage.

The reason is because newer hybrids are taking up N later in the season.

Vyn shared a research summary from experiments conducted around the world. It compared older corn hybrids to modern hybrids in terms of yield and N uptake and found older hybrids were yielding around 126 bushels per acre, while the newer ones are yielding about 169 bushels.

The study also found that newer hybrids took up 27 pounds more N than the older ones at the same average N fertilizer rate of 150 pounds per acre.

“The good news is we don’t necessarily need to apply more N today to get to higher yields, because the corn hybrids are that much better,” Vyn says. “But it does mean the capability of modern hybrids is such that we continue to get N uptake as our plants stay healthier longer.

“If our plants are staying healthier longer, and…

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Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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