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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 2002-2004
1 Fluid Journal Summer 2002 Drs. W.B. Gordon and D.A. Whitney Starters Bump Grain Sorghum Yields Kansas experiments were conducted on both minimum-till and no-till systems, using 2 x 2 and dribble methods of placement. Summary: All starter treatments increased grain sorghum yield over the no-starter check plots. In both tillage systems, yields were maximized by application of starter fertilizer containing either 30 or 45 lbs/A of nitrogen (N) with 30 lbs/A of P2O5. In 2001, there were no differences between 2 x 2 and band-dribbled starter fertilizer. In previous years, subsurface placed starter had proven to be more efficient than placing fertilizer in a surface band. When averaged over tillage treatments, starters containing 30 lbs/A of N and 30 lbs/A of P2O5 decreased the number of days from emergence to mid-bloom by over 13 days, compared to the no- starter checks. Conservation tillage production systems are being used by an increasing number of producers in the central Great Plains because of several inherent advantages. These include reduction of soil erosion losses, increased soil water- use efficiency, and improved soil quality. However, early-season plant growth can be poorer in reduced tillage systems than in conventional systems. The large amount of surface residue present in a no-till system can reduce seed zone temperatures. Lower than optimum soil temperature can reduce the rate of root growth and P uptake by plants. Starter fertilizers can be applied to place nutrient elements within the rooting zone of young seedlings for better availability, which will hasten maturity and avoid late-season damage by low temperatures. Yield bu/A 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 Check 0-30 30-0 15-30 30-30 45-30 N-P205-lbs/A 2x2 Dribble Yield bu/A 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 130 Check 0-30 30-0 15-30 30-30 45-30 N-P205-lbs/A 2x2 Dribble Figure 1. NP starter fertilizer placement and composition effects on grain sorghum yield in a reduced-till system, Gordon and Whitney, Belleville, 1999-2001. Figure 2. NP starter fertilizer placement and composition effects on grain sorghum yield in a no-till system, Gordon and Whitney, Belleville, 1999-2001. Some experiments that have evaluated crop response to N and P starters have demonstrated improved early growth as well as increased yields, and attributed those responses to the P component of the combination. Other studies have indicated that nitrogen (N) is the most critical element in the NP starter on soils not low in P. Many producers do not favor 2 x 2 placement of starters due to the high initial cost of application equipment and problems associated with knife applications in high residue situations. This research is aimed at minimizing fertility problems that arise with reduced tillage systems, thus making conservation-till more attractive to producers.
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