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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1993-1995
1 Fluid Journal Fall 1993 55 30 5 Corn Dry Weight (g/plant) 10-34-0 1:1 N:P 3:1 N:P 150 N + P Broadcast 150 N + 10-34-0 Banded 5 6 7 Weeks After Planting Figure 1. Effect of starter fertilizers (15 gal/A) on early-season corn growth, Bertie County, NC, 1991. Summary: Through it work in North Carolina, a strategy has been developed to implement an efficient, profitable environmentally sound production system for corn. This study shows that efficient, prudent use of fluid fertilizers helped to protect the environment and improve yields through: 1) new technology that produces more precision in timing and placement of both fertilizers and pesticides. 2) tillage practices that reduce erosion and conserve moisture, and 3) cooperation from growers who not only perceive good economics, but also recognize the need to demonstrate their proficiency as environmental stewards. North Carolina growers have responded positively to our "packaged" programs developed from strategies designed to bene-fit crops and protect the environment. We're optimistic this will continue. To ensure that row crop enterprises do not threaten the biological integrity of natural resources, the Crop Science Department at North Carolina State University spearheaded the development of an environmentally sound crop production strategy. Agricultural sediments, nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides were targeted. Corn was selected as the crop for the initial study. Development of a "package" of cultural practices for corn grown in environmentally sensitive areas was patterned after a collection of production techniques assembled in the early 1980s for North Carolina's irrigated corn producers. In the highly successful irrigation program, individual practices contributing to yield and profitability were: 1) researched in small plots, 2) combined into a promising system, 3) evaluated in Drs. John R. Anderson, Jr. and H. Michael Linker Environmental Stewardship/Efficient Crop Management Go Hand-in-Hand Environmentally sound strategies for using fluid fertilizers discussed. large plots on commercial farms, and 4) refined to achieve a profitable production scheme now used by most of the state's irrigated corn farmers. Growers responded favorably to the package concept because it offered them specific guidelines that could be easily modified for use on their farms. Included in the "package" of cultural practices were: 1) use of conservation tillage to reduce potential erosion, 2) application of a high N:P starter fertilizer with no preplant or at-planting N to prevent excessive P application on high P soils and reduce potential for early-season N leaching, 3) use of corn hybrids with exceptional seedling vigor to reduce need for insecticides and herbicides, 4) a remedial, all-post- emergence herbicide program to reduce pesticide use and increase profitability, 5) soil insecticide treatments only when field histories justify, and 6) a "customized" sidedress operation to adjust final N and sulfur application rates. More precision It may be possible to determine the right amount of N in sidedressing with new technology. Two options are the pre-sidedress nitrate test or the chlorophyll meter. Preliminary observations suggest that the chlorophyll meter offers the most opportunity for use by growers striving to achieve maximum N efficiency in environmentally sensitive areas. The chlorophyll meter's potential to predict N fertilizer needs of corn has been recently described. Our experience with IPM and irrigation technology is that such a tool will be used to its potential only when it is offered as a service at a reasonable cost. The expectation is it can be used cost-
Fluid Journal 1996-1998