Zinc and Sulfur Fertilization for High-Yield Corn Production


Start Date: 2008

Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Vetsch

Organization: University of Minnesota, Southern Research and Outreach Center

Status: Complete 

Background Information:

Early planting of corn combined with increased residue cover, due to conservation tillage, often results in cooler and wetter spring planting conditions. These conditions can reduce secondary and micronutrient availability in soils, and may result in nutrient deficiencies in young corn plants.


Sulfur (S) and zinc (Zn) are two nutrients that may be limiting in corn-on-soybean rotations or during cool and wet spring soil conditions. This research project attempted to fill in the knowledge gap regarding the effects of Zn and S fertilizer in southern Minnesota and answer some of the following questions:


  1. What are the soil, agronomic, and/or environmental conditions in which economic responses (i.e., a yield increase) to Zn and S are found for corn in Minnesota?
  2. Is a broadcast application of ZnSO4 as effective as a starter band for farmers with large equipment who do not use starter fertilizer?
  3. Is there a yield benefit to the sulfate in ZnSO4?
  4. Are responses to Zn in corn hybrid-specific?

Key Findings:

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