Two field studies will be established to study the contribution of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur individually or together in enhancing corn growth and yield. One site will be on a loam soil and the other will be on a sandy soil. The base treatments will be as follows:
- No starter fertilizer
- Nitrogen only - ammonium nitrate
- Nitrogen + Phosphorus - diammonium phosphate + ammonium nitrate
- Nitrogen + Sulfur - ammonium sulfate
- Nitrogen + Phosphorus + Sulfur – ammonium sulfate + superphosphate
The materials will be applied to supply 30 pounds per acre of each element. Treatments will be replicated 4 times in a completely randomized block design. Additional treatments may be included as deemed appropriate to achieve the stated objectives.
High residue minimum-till and no-till sites will be targeted to facilitate cool moist soil conditions that impede corn seedling root system development and soil mineralization of sulfur and nitrogen. Plant growth will be evaluated and corn grain yield determined. Additionally, whole corn plants will be removed from the field at about growth stage V6 and at silking for measurement of biomass and nutrient uptake. Plant height and leaf chlorophyll content will also be measured at those growth stages. Results from the study will serve as a basis for formulating new MSU Extension recommendations for starter fertilizer use in reduced tillage corn production systems.