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Title:Optimizing nutrient availability for high-yield corn production
Author(s):Beyrer, Tryston
Advisor(s):Below, Frederick E.
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
nutrient availability
nutrient use efficiency
nutrient uptake
nutrient utilization
Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)
corn production
early growth
Abstract:With increased fertilizer cost and the potential for increased environmental regulations in states like Illinois, many producers are interested in increasing the availability and effectiveness of their fertilizer applications. Elevated yield levels of modern hybrids require higher amounts of nutrients and management to sustainably produce higher yield levels. Throughout a growing season, there are several factors that affect nutrient availability to plants, ultimately influencing how well a plant can partition nutrients into the required plant tissues. In order to sustain adequate nutrient uptake, assessment of several different management factors will help determine how each would contribute to sustainably producing higher yields across varying environments. The central objective of this thesis was to determine how different fertilizer technologies available to corn producers can effectively be integrated in management decisions to optimize nutrient availability in their high-yielding corn production systems. Chapter 1 focuses on phosphorus (P) management and how it can be managed to optimize plant use of applied nutrients. The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) is one organization that has increased the popularity of phosphorus management through the introduction of the four R’s (Right Source, Right Place, Right Rate, and Right Time). This research primarily focuses on the right source [Mono-ammonium Phosphate (MAP) vs. MicroEssentials® SZ™ (MESZ) with and without additions of PMAX phosphorus stabilizer], place (broadcast vs. placed) and rate (0, 50, 100, 150 lbs P2O5 ac-1), though some of the data will support when nutrients are required for optimal plant use (Time). Chapter 1 results indicate that P availability was optimized for early season growth from banded fertilizer and increased phosphorus fertilizer application rates. Increased yields were attained from P fertilizer applications despite soils testing high in P. Further analysis of nutrient levels within the plants confirmed how fertilizer management can affect the availability of nutrients to the plant. The results of this research may serve as a guide for corn producers interested in improving the efficiency of their P fertility program. The primary objective of the research in Chapter 2 was to understand the potential synergies of combining seed treatments, in-furrow applications and foliar-applied products and how they may enhance nutrient utilization within the plant. Several different Stoller products were assessed across multiple P and nitrogen (N) fertility levels to determine which products may have the largest impact in producers operations where fertility levels change. Chapter 2 suggests that combinations of the Stoller chemicals for enhanced plant growth have a positive effect on plant physiological processes and have the potential to improve nutrient use and yield. Corn growers have a number of products to choose from in order to supply crops with additional nutrients throughout the season, but often little is known about maximizing product effectiveness. The primary objective of the research in Chapter 3 was to understand the potential synergies between seed treatments and foliar-applied products which might enhance the utilization of N and other nutrients within the plant. Plant acquisition of nutrients on a timely basis throughout the season is not always possible, so supplemental applications of products throughout important phases of plant growth may enhance nutrient utilization within the plant. The experiment was conducted across a titration of N rates to indicate where supplemental applications have increased merit (low vs high N availability). The hypothesis of this study was that there would be minimal plant effects from applications of Stoller products, but the research suggested that when several of these plant growth enhancing chemicals were combined into management packages, their use may be warranted in certain instances due to increased N use efficiency and yield Increased yields of corn can be achieved through management practices that combine hybrids possessing a high yield potential with improved fertility practices and chemical protection from fungal, weed and insect pests. The overall objective of this research was to understand the potential synergies between nitrogen protection via a nitrification inhibitor, foliar insecticides, and a strobilurin fungicide and how they may optimize use of their resources. In-season chlorophyll ratings may provide opportunities for better final grain quality estimates. Additionally, use of fungicides, insecticides and nitrogen stabilizers suggested that nutrient use from applied nutrients could be increased by plants when multiple management practices were utilized. Although nutrient management is a complex process, improving our understanding of how fertilizer technologies and increased management impacts nutrient availability to corn plants creates opportunities for optimization of our current fertilizer management programs.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Tryston Beyrer
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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