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Enhancing Continuous-Corn Production in Conservation Tillage with Starter Fluid Fertilizer Combinations and Placement

Start Date: 2010
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Vetsch
Organization: University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Status: Complete

Background Info

Crop rotations in the Midwest have changed from the traditional corn-soybean rotation to more corn-intensive rotations. This switch to corn-dominated rotations presents a challenge to corn producers on many poorly drained, glacial till soils in southern Minnesota. In general, corn yields following a previous corn crop are reduced when conservation tillage practices are used on this soil type. In Minnesota, we have very little data on the optimum rate and placement of sulfur-containing fluid starter fertilizers for corn. With the increased costs and price volatility of fertilizers, farmers have questions about what products, placements and rates give them the most “bang for their buck.”


Determine the effects of fluid starter fertilizer combinations and placement of 10-34-0 (APP), 28-0-0- (UAN) , and 12-0-0-26 (ammonium thiosulfate, ATS) on second-year corn production in reduced tillage/high-residue conditions

Provide management guidelines on placement and rates of UAN, APP, and ATS combined as starter for crop consultants, local advisors, and the fertilizer industry as they serve corn producers trying to meet the growing needs for corn grain by the ethanol industry and livestock producers

Key Findings

The response of corn to fluid starter fertilizer was inconsistent in this study. Starter fertilizers containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) applied as urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), ammonium phosphate (APP) and ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) generally increased early growth while reducing plant variability of corn grown following corn in reduced tillage.

Data suggests yield responses to fluid starter fertilizer may be more likely on poorly drained glacial till soils in south-central Minnesota, compared with the well-drained loess soils of southeast Minnesota.

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