Research links soil nitrogen levels to corn yield and nitrogen losses

corn
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

What exactly is the relationship between soil nitrogen, corn yield, and nitrogen loss? Most farmers would be forgiven for assuming a straightforward linear relationship: more nitrogen, more grain yield, and maybe, more loss. That’s the assumption many nitrogen management models are based on, but it turns out there’s very little published science to back up that assumption.


In arecent paperleveraging a multi-year dataset from 11 experimental plots and on-farm trials around the state, University of Illinois scientists definitively established the relationship between soil nitrogen at different growth stages and corn yield. The results provide more precise ways to manage nitrogen for grain yield while lowering nitrogen losses.

“Technology nowadays moves very fast. There’s a lot of modeling tools out there to help growers match nitrogen to crop needs, but very little published data showing the relationship,” says Giovani Preza-Fontes, doctoral researcher in the Department of Crop

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