Nutrient Studies

Farm Research Nutrient Management Studies in Corn/Soybean Rotations

Farm research studies in this section include liming/chlorosis studies, biosolids studies, manure application, fertilizer application, laboratory test comparisons, and other nutrient studies

Liming/Chlorosis Studies

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using lime on an acidic soil in corn/soybean rotations. 
Summary : A 2-ton lime application with a 7-year life expectancy was applied in spring 1995. A significant difference was detected between test weights at the 90% confidence level in 1995. In 1996, there was a significant difference in moisture content of seed at harvest. In 1997, the use of lime increased corn grain yield slightly. In 1998, lime increased seed yield of soybeans significantly; however, seed test weight was reduced. In 1999, lime reduced grain moisture at harvest and resulted in a slightly lower test weight. In 2000, the lime application resulted in higher seed yield, slightly higher moisture, and slightly higher seed test weight. In 2001, grain moisture was lower at harvest where lime had been applied. In 2002, seed yield of soybeans was increased significantly by lime. In 2003, grain yield of corn was increased and grain test weight was higher where lime had been applied. Seed yield was again higher in 2004 where lime had been applied in 1995. Lime application had no effect on corn in 2005; however, soil pH was still higher where lime had been applied. In 2006, soybean seed yield was signifcantly higher where lime had been applied.  the grain moisture of corn was significantly lower are harvest in 2007 where lime had been applied. Soil pH was higher in the fall of 2007 where lime had been applied and soybean seed yield in 2008 was significantly higher from lime application.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of incorporating versus not incorporating lime in a corn and soybean rotation.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using calcium sulfate to mediate iron chlorosis in soybeans and improve drainage in corn and soybean production.
Summary:  The application of calcium sulfate had no effect on the growth or yield of corn or soybeans in 2002 or 2003 in any of the studies. In the south field (King study), calcium sulfate had no effect on corn in 2004 & 2006 or on soybeans in 2005.  The treatment in the King study contained approximately 300 pounds of sulfur per ton.

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Biosolids Studies

Objective:  Determine the profitability of replacing commercial fertilizer with municipal biosolids in an irrigated corn and soybean rotation.  Biosolids used in these studies were from Fremont and Omaha.
Summary:  (Brandert) There was no significant difference between urea and biosolids for the production of corn in 2002. In 2003 residual effects of biosolids resulted in reduced soybean yield and higher seed moisture at harvest. In 2004 there were no significant yield or grain moisture effects at harvest.  (Clausen-Marshall) In 2003, grain yields and moisture at harvest were the same for fertilizer and biosolids at the Marshall site. There were no residual effects on soybeans in 2004; however, corn yield was slightly higher in 2005 where biosolids were applied. (Clausen-Clausen) At the Clausen site 2004 & 2006 corn grain yields were higher where biosolids had been applied. In 2005 & 2007 soybean yields were higher where biosolids had been applied.  (Piening) The corn fertilized with biosolids did not yield significantly higher than the anhydrous fertilized crop. The biosolids were incorporated in this comparison. The 1993 growing season was an unusually wet growing season and minerlization of organic nitrogen may have influenced grain moisture at harvest in this field. In 1994 soybeans were grown in this field with no additional fertilizer applied to either treatment. There was no significant difference between treatments.
In 1995 the entire field of corn was fertilized with ammonium nitrate. No significant difference between the original treatment areas was measured. Biosolid nitrogen resources are estimated to be 40% available the year of application, 30% the following year, 20% the third year, and 10% the fourth year. Biosolids contain other valuable nutrients including phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. The profitability of using biosolids depends largely on available labor, machinery investment and soil characteristics, particularly phosphorous levels.
(Nielsen) The corn fertilized with biosolids yielded significantly higher than the anhydrous fertililized crop in 1993. The biosolids were not incorporated in this comparison. This rolling, upland field had a low phosphorus level which made it a good candidate for biosolid nutrient response. 1993 was an unusually wet growing season. In 1994 this field was rotated to grain sorghum and anhydrous fertilizer was applied to the entire field. The yield difference between treatments was significantly different. Soybeans planted into the residual biosolid treatments yielded significantly higher than the previously fertilized anhydrous ammonia treatments. 1995 was an extremely dry year. In 1996 wheat was grown in this field. The entire field received a uniform application of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer. The residual biosolids treatment strips yielded higher than those treatments that did not receive biosolids in 1993.
Biosolid nitrogen resources are estimated to be 40% available the year ofapplication, 30% the following year, 20% the following year, and 10% the fourth year. Biosolids can contain other valuable nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and zinc. The profitability of using biosolids depends largely on available labor, machine investment, and soil characteristics.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of incorporating biosolids.
Summary:  (Wilkens) In 2003 season cultivation had no effect on the growth of corn in either field. In 2004 cultivation reduced grain yield slightly.

 

Objective: To determine & document the profitability of using Biosolids as a nutrient in a corn/soybean rotation.
Summary: The application of Biosolids resulted in a significant increase in seed yield; however, moisture content at harvest was higher where Biosolids had been applied. The increase in seed yield is likely due to phosphorus in the Biosolids applied to this low phosphorus soil. In 2010, corn yields were not increased significantly; however, grain moisture was increased slightly. Plot was very variable due to excess rain.

 

 

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Manure Application

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using feedlot manure as a replacement for commercial fertilizer.
Summary:  (Hanson) In 2001 the use of multi-nutrient fertilizer and either manure source produced similar corn yields. Soybeans produced the same seed yield with the manure sources, but the no fertilizer treatment was lower than the other treatments. In 2002 the use of multi-nutrient fertilizer and both manure sources produced the same corn yields. Manure from the west lagoon produced slightly lower seed yield in soybeans. Grain moisture of corn at harvest was the highest where only nitrogen fertilizer was applied. Using a multi-nutrient fertilizer resulted in lower grain moisture which was reduced further when manure was applied. In 2003 corn yields in corn following corn were highest following residual mixed fertilizer or manure. Yields were not affected when corn followed beans. Grain moisture at harvest was not affected by treatments.
(Larson) The application of K and S in addition to NPZn increased grain yield significantly in 1999. Yield from this treatment was equal to the yield from manure. Test weight was slightly lower for the NPZn treatment when compared to the NPKSZn treatment. There was a slight carry-over effect on soybeans in 2000. Seed yield from the manure treatment was slightly higher than from the NPKSZn treatment. In 2001 grain test weight was increased by KS and increased more by manure. Yield and grain moisture were not affected by treatments.
(Moravik) The application of 30 tons of manure per acre (230 lbs/ac plant available nitrogen) resulted in a grain yield that was higher than was achieved with 180 lbs/ac nitrogen from commercial fertilizer. The addition of nitrogen with the manure increased yields above manure alone. (Bartek) Use of manure resulted in higher grain yields than using commercial fertilizer in 1996, however, the grain was wetter at harvest. In 1997 soybean seed yield was higher where manure was applied in 1996. In 1998 corn grain drier where manure was applied in 1996. Grain yield was also significantly different.
(RaikesField1) Corn yields were the same for manure treatments and for fertilizer treatments except for the treatment designated "fertilizer only." The reason is unknown. This treatment had the lowest average plant population, however, plant population was not related to treatment and this treatment had an average population similar to the liquid 1996 treatment. The use of manure did result in higher grain moisture at harvest and a slightly lower grain test weight in corn in 1996. The application of manure had no effect on soybeans in 1997. 
(RaikesField2) In 1996 the use of manure prior to growing soybeans resulted in a reduction in seed yield and a lower test weight. The use of manure did not affect seed moisture at harvest, however, the use of liquid manure did give slightly lower seed moisture than where solid manure was used.  The application of manure in 1997 resulted in higher grain moisture and lower yields as compared to treatments that received fertility only or fertilizer in 1997 and manure in 1996.

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Fertilizer Application

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using 11-52-0 surface broadcast prior to planting in a corn and soybean rotation.

Summary: The application of 11-52-0 broadcast increased seed yield of soybeans in 1997 and 1999. Corn grain yields were increased by the 11-52-0 broadcast in 1998. In 2000, phosphorus broadcast increased grain yield (9 bu/ac) and test weight (0.4 lbs/bu). Tillage also increased grain yield (10 bu/ac) and reduced grain moisture at harvest slightly. In 2001 broadcast phosphorous increased the seed yield of soybeans 6 bu/ac. In 2002, broadcast phosphorus increased grain yield and test weight and reduced grain moisture at harvest. Tillage done in 2000 and 2001 resulted in reduced yields and grain moisture at harvest and increased test weights in 2002. Residual effects of phosphorus gave increased seed yield and a slight increase in seed moisture in 2003.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using starter fertilizer versus using none in corn production.
Summary:  Variable results occurred regarding increased grain yield from addition of starter fertilizer in these studies.  (Uehling) The use of starter resulted in a significant increase in grain yield in 2005, but not in 2006 or 2007.  (Quad) Starter fertilizer showed no significant yield advantage when compared to no starter on seven irrigated corn fields in south central Nebraska. (Schmidt) The use of starter fertilizer resulted in slightly drier grain at harvest and a slight increase in grain yield.  (Hanke) Use of starter fertilizer increased early growth and grain yield and resulted in lower grain moisture at harvest in 1997-1998. There was not a significant difference in performance between the two starter fertilizers. (Ohnoutka) Soybean seed yields were increased by starter fertilizer (10-34-0), in 1997. No differences were detected in the corn comparison. In 1998 starter fertilizer use resulted in slightly drier corn at harvest and slightly lower test weight. No differences were detected in the soybean trial. 

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Laboratory Tests

Objective:  Determine the profitability of nitrogen application rates based on soil organic matter content.
Summary:  Corn yields were increased with each increment of nitrogen applied. Test weight was reduced by the lowest rate of nitrogen applied. Plant population was slightly higher at the mid-rate of nitrogen, however, population does not appear to be a factor in grain yield.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of fertilizer treatment recommendation by two different soil laboratories.
Summary:  In 2004, soybean growth was not influenced by fertilizer treatment. Corn growth was not affected by fertilizer treatment in 2005. In 2006, soybeans fertilized according to commercial laboratory yielded slightly more than the other treatments. Soybeans from plots that received only nitrogen on corn the previous year were slightly drier at harvest., In 2008, soybeans fertilized according to a commercial seed laboratory had wetter seed at harvest compared to UNL or none treatment. 

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Other Nutrient Studies

Objective:  Determine the profitability of phosphorus fertilizer placement in the production of corn and soybeans.
Summary:  The use of phosphorus fertilizer significantly increased grain yield in 1999. Broadcast application increased yield above the no phosphorus treatment, and banded application increased yield above the broadcast treatment. Test weight was increased by both phosphorus treatments. There was no carryover effect on soybeans in 2000.

Objective: To determine & document the effect of phosphorus source on the profitability of producing soybeans.
Summary: The application of AVAIL phosphate fertilizer had no effect on the seed yield of soybeans in 2008 or on corn yields in 2009.

Objective:  Determine the profitability of using potassium fertilizer in a corn and soybean rotation.
Summary:  In 2001 potassium had no effect on corn growth and yield. Plant density was reduced very slightly. In 2002 soybean growth and seed yield were not affected by residual potassium applied in 2001. In 2003 the application of potassium increased grain test weight slightly. In 2004 residual potassium from 2003 had no effect on the growth and yield of soybeans.

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