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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 2002-2004
1 Fluid Journal Winter 2003 A AAAA Searching for a Right Balance in Plant Population and Nitrogen Fertility by Drs. J. M. Blumenthal and D. J. Lyon Summary: Under favorable weather conditions we observed linear increases in yield with increasing plant populations. We observed similar responses with nitrogen (N) fertility where the weather conditions were favorable. At no site did we observe an interaction between plant populations and N fertilization. Optimal plant populations ranged from 7,000 to more than 23,000 plants/A. To maximize yields, a total N supply from soil and fertilizer of 210 lbs/A was required. To optimize yield, a total N supply of 140 lbs/A was needed. though corn acreage increased more than seven- fold from 1995 through 1999 in semiarid western Nebraska, corn management recommendations are lacking for this area. The objectives of this study were to determine proper management practices for dryland corn relative to plant population and N fertility. Weather Dryland corn production, considering this is a relatively dry area with yields limited by rainfall, was exceptional throughout much of western Nebraska in 1999. The relative abundance of water (Figure 1) also was reflected in the grain yields for the sites. The Cheyenne County site yielded an average of 90 bu/ A, the Banner County site 76 bu/A, the Box Butte County site 47 bu/A, and the Nebraska studies on dryland corn show interesting correlations between yields and management of plant populations and nitrogen fertility. Kimball County site 26 bu/A. Dryland corn production in 2000, however, was more challenging. Seasonal precipitation was scarce. The Banner, Cheyenne, and Kimball sites received the lowest seasonal precipitation within the last 50 years. Cheyenne County yielded an average of Figure 2. Effect of plant population on corn yield, 1999. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 Plant population (plants/acre) Grain yield (bu/acre) Banner Cheyenne Kimball Box Butte Figure 1. Total water stored plus growing season precipitation. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Banner Box Butte Cheyenne Kimball Banner Box Butte Cheyenne Kimball Water (inches) Post-flower Pre-flower Stored 1999 2000
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