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NALDC Record Details:
Alfalfa Nitrogen Credit to First-Year Corn: Potassium, Regrowth, and Tillage Timing Effects
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Compared with corn (Zea mays L.) following corn, N guidelines for first-year corn following alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the U.S. Corn Belt suggest that N rates can be reduced by about 168 kg N ha−1 when ≥43 or 53 alfalfa plants m−2 are present at termination. These guidelines have been questioned by practitioners, however, as corn grain yields have increased. We conducted experiments at 16 locations in Minnesota to address questions regarding N availability to first-year corn after alfalfa relating to the effect of carryover fertilizer K from alfalfa and the amount and timing of alfalfa regrowth incorporation. Corn grain yield, silage yield, and fertilizer N uptake were not affected by carryover K or amount or timing of regrowth incorporation. Maximum corn grain yield ranged from 12.0 to 16.1 Mg ha−1 among locations but responded to fertilizer N at only one. At that location, which had inadequate soil drainage, the economically optimum N rate (EONR) was 85 kg N ha−1, assuming prices of US$0.87 kg−1 N and US$132 Mg−1 grain. The EONR for silage yield across 6 of 15 locations where it was measured was 40 kg N ha−1, assuming US$39 Mg−1 silage. These results demonstrate that on highly productive medium- to fine-textured soils in the Upper Midwest with ≥43 alfalfa plants m−2 at termination, first-year corn grain yield is often maximized without fertilizer N, regardless of alfalfa regrowth management or timing of incorporation, but that small N applications may be needed to optimize silage yield.
Yost, Matt A.
Coulter, Jeffrey A.
Russelle, Michael P.
Sheaffer, Craig C.
Kaiser, Daniel E.
Agronomy journal 2012 July, v. 104, no. 4
American Society of Agronomy
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
Agricultural Research Service
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