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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1999-2001
1 Fluid Journal Winter 1999 by Dr. D.L. Wright All About Starters Florida scientist offers tips on how to use starters, plus describes the many benefits that accrue from their use. He focuses on corn. Of course we all know starters are used to enhance crop growth and development of crops with the end result of producing a higher yield return per unit area. But there are benefits other than yield that accrue from the use of starters The purpose of this article will be to illustrate some of these benefits by citing field research and conclude with several important tips on the use of starter fertilizers and hybrid selection. Value added Earlier maturity. Important in the Southeast is earlier maturity of corn when grain sorghum or soybeans are to be planted as the second crop in late summer. Planting a week to ten days earlier on the second crop results in much better growing conditions. Reduced moisture. Figure 1 shows that starter placement is helpful in decreasing grain moisture for earlier harvest Placement of ammonium polyphosphate near the seed, in addition to the normal fertilization program, resulted in quicker drydown and higher yields. The earlier maturity may have allowed the corn to mature before stalk rot cut off movement of photosynthates into the ear. The result was higher yields, especially where starter was placed 2 by 2 or on the surface. Speeded growth. Starters speed plant growth early in the season, especially when row-applied. Silking and tasseling occur 7 to 10 days earlier. Time in the vegetative stage of growth is reduced, resulting in lower ear and plant heights in most cases (Figure 2). Interaction. In many cases a starter will consist of only NP combinations, but no- till corn has responded to applications of NP + K when used in the row as a surface- applied fertilizer (Figure 3). As we know, acreage of minimum and no-till crops has expanded dramatically since 1977. This has resulted in higher yields by reducing sand blasting and erosion and made for more timely planting of a second row crop. Versatile. Any form of fertilizer may be Method of Placement Yield---bu/A Figure 1. Starter effect on no-tilled corn moisture and yield. Grain H O 7-20-84 2 Yield Grain moisture C ontrol In furro w 2"x2" Surface 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 105 90 75 60 45 30 15 Method of Placement Yield---bu/A Plant height-ft. Yield Grain m oisture C ontrol In furro w 2"x2" Surface 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 Figure 2. Starter effect on no-tilled corn growth and yield, Wright.
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