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Tillage and Sulfur Management for Corn in Fine-Textured Soils

Start Date: 2008
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Strock
Organization: University of Minnesota, Southern Research and Outreach Center
Status: Complete

Background Info

Nitrogen fertilizer is routinely used in Minnesota because of its positive effects on crop yield. Sulfur and nitrogen are closely associated in protein synthesis; thus, when sulfur becomes limiting, additions of nitrogen do not increase yield or protein level in plants. Some producers in southwest Minnesota have reported that sulfur deficiencies have become more common in recent years, especially in high-yield environments. Current University of Minnesota guidelines indicate that the addition of sulfur should be considered when corn is grown on coarse-textured, sandy soils. Research data has not established a consistent, predictable yield response to sulfur in non-sandy or medium to high organic matter soils.

Objectives

Evaluate corn yield response to added sulfur to fine textured soils under five different tillage systems

Measure nitrogen and sulfur uptake into ear leaf tissue at tassel, grain and corn above ground biomass at physiologic maturity

Key Findings

Corn grain yield data exhibited variability among years, mainly due to the effect of changing weather patterns and the frequency and amount of precipitation.

The data demonstrated that the difference in yield, and consequently response to applied sulfur, on fine-textured soil was greater for the corn-corn rotation compared to the soybean-corn rotation in southwest Minnesota.

This research suggests that other tools for predicting available sulfur in soil from southwest Minnesota for corn production needs to be developed.

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