Nitrogen Management for Sweet Corn Production

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1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada Nitrogen Management for Sweet Corn Production Zhang, T.Q 1., C.S. Tan 1, J. Zandstra 2, J. Warner 1 1 GPCRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON 2 Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph,ON

2 Sweet corn experimental plots, Harrow, ON, 2004 Insufficient N Sufficient N

3 Introduction l Sweet corn Ø the largest acreage vegetable crop in ON Ø nitrogen (N), essential to production Ø current recommendation: 90 kg N ha -1 l Is the recommendation sufficiently meeting crop needs? Ø with diversified categories (fresh market & processing) & varieties, soil types and weather conditions Ø with application of new technologies

4 General Objectives l To determine the response of sweet corn yield to fertilizer nitrogen rate l To determine crop nitrogen uptake l To evaluate the leaching loss potential for soil nitrate-nitrogen (NO 3 -N) after harvest l To develop the optimum fertilizer nitrogen rates l To develop a pre-sidedress soil nitrogen test (PSNT) technique to predict the fertilizer nitrogen needs

5 Fresh market sweet corn with plastic mulch

6 Soil temperature, 0-10 cm, Granby sandy loam, Harrow, ON, 2000 Soil temperature (oc) Bare soil Plastic mulch 10 May 9 May 19 May 29 June 8 June 18 June 28 July 7 July 18 July 28

7 Soil moisture, 0-20cm, Granby sandy loam, Harrow, ON, 2000 Moisture content (%) Bare soil Plastic mulch May 24 June 2 June 13 June 23 July 3 July 13 July 23 Aug. 2 Date

8

9

10 Temporal changes of soil mineral N during the growing season, Harrow, ON, Soil mineral N (kg N ha-1) Bare soil Plastic mulch 0-10 cm cm Apr20 May17 May31 June14June27Apr20 May17 May31 June14June27 Date

11 Sweet corn marketable yield (fresh market) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 1999 Yield (dozen ear ha -1 ) Plastic mulch Bare soil Maximum marketable yield (dozen ha -1 ): bare soil: 1908 plastic mulch: 3363 Fertilizer nitrogen required: (kg N ha -1 ): bare soil: zero (dry year) plastic mulch: Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha -1 ) Zhang et al, 2002

12 Sweet corn marketable yield (fresh market) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 2000 Yield (dozen ear ha -1 ) Plastic mulch Bare soil Maximum marketable yield (dozen ha -1 ): bare soil: 1611 plastic mulch: 3117 Fertilizer nitrogen required: (kg N ha -1 ): bare soil: 72 (wet year) plastic mulch: Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha -1 ) Zhang et al, 2002

13 Total N uptake (fresh market) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, Total N uptake (kg N ha -1 ) Plastic mulch Bare soil Total N uptake (kg N ha -1 ): bare soil: plastic mulch: Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha -1 ) Zhang et al, 2002

14 Vertical distribution of mineral N in soil profile (0-100cm) after harvest, Mineral N (mg N kg -1 ) Depth (cm) Bare soil 0 kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha -1 Plastic mulch 0 kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha kg N ha Zhang et al, 2001

15 Post-harvest mineral nitrogen in upper soil layers (0-40 cm), Granby sandy loam, Harrow, ON, 2000 Soil mineral N (kg N ha-1) Bare soil Plastic mulch Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha-1)

16 Summary fresh market sweet corn (based on multiple year results) l Plastic mulch increases substantially fresh market sweet corn yield (by up to 93%), and the fertilizer N needs l Plastic mulch increases crop N uptake and reduces the potential (by up to 52%) for adverse effects of fertilizer N on water quality l The optimum N rate for sweet corn with plastic mulch can be 138 to 145 kg N ha -1, depending on the variety

17 Processing sweet corn

18 Sweet corn marketable yield (processing) vs. fertilizer N rate, Ridgetown, ON, Marketable yield (t ha -1 ) Maximum marketable yield: 11 t ha -1 Fertilizer nitrogen required: 209 kg N ha Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha-1)

19 Sweet corn marketable yield (processing) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, Marketable yield (t ha -1 ) Maximum marketable yield: 10 t ha -1 Fertilizer nitrogen required: 132 kg N ha Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha-1)

20 Sweet corn (processing) total nitrogen uptake vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 2004 Total N uptake (kg N ha -1 ) Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha-1) Range: kg N ha -1 Total N uptake at fertilizer rate required for maximum marketable yield: 176 kg N ha -1

21 Fertilizer requirement vs. fertilizer N rate, Ridgetown, ON, 2004 (proc. sweet corn) Fertilizer N requirement (kg N t -1 ) Marketable yield (t ha-1) Nitrogen required to Produce each ton yield: kg N t kg N t -1 at the maximum marketable yield

22 Soil NO 3 -N (kg N ha -1 ) Post-harvest soil nitrate nitrogen (0-100cm) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 2004 (proc. sweet corn) Fertilizer nitrogen rate above 150 kg N ha -1 increased substantially soil nitrate-nitrogen after harvest Fertilizer N (kg ha -1 )

23 Threshold values for pre-sidedress soil nitrogen test (PSNT), Harrow, Sampling date Postplanting V Threshold values for PSNT varied with sampling date, year, and location (data not shown) V V V

24 Summary Processing Sweet Corn (based on multiple-year-site results) l Fertilizer N rate required for maximum marketable yield can be from 132 to 209 kg N ha -1, above which N fertilization can cause significant increases in post-harvest soil nitrate-n and the adverse effect on water quality l Each tonne production of marketable yield requires 12.5 kg N ha -1 fertilizer N l Threshold values for pre-side dress soil N test (PSNT) vary with the growing stage of the sweet corn. A new soil N test needs to be developed

25 General conclusions l There are significant increases as to N needs for both fresh market sweet corn with plastic mulch and processing sweet corn, compared with the current recommendation l Effects of soil residual N on water quality through leaching losses can be insignificant, if N application does not exceed the rates required for the maximum yield production l Revision of the current N recommendation for sweet corn is necessary to maximize production profits, while sustaining environmental quality

26 Acknowledgements Technical support from Mr. B. Hohner and M.R. Reeb from GPCRC Financial support from OPVG, OFVGA and AAFC MII Program

27 Thank You

28 Soil mineral N (25cm plant height stage) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 2000 Soil mineral N (kg N ha-1) cm cm Bare soil Plastic mulch Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha -1 ) Zhang et al, 2001

29 Soil temperature, 10-20cm, Granby Sandy loam, Harrow, ON, 2000 Soil temperature (oc) Bare soil Plastic mulch 10 May 9 May 19 May 29 June 8 June 18 June 28 July 7 July 18 July 28

30 Sweet corn total yield (fresh market) vs. fertilizer N rate, Harrow, ON, 2000 Yield (dozen ear ha -1 ) Plastic mulch Bare soil Maximum marketable yield (dozen ha -1 ): Bare soil: 3289 Plastic mulch: 4569 Fertilizer nitrogen required: (kg N ha -1 ): Bare soil: 79 Plastic mulch: Fertilizer N rate (kg N ha -1 ) Zhang et al, 2002

31 Nitrogen removal as % of total N uptake (fresh market) vs. soil cover, Harrow, ON, 2000 N removal/total N uptake (%) % Bare soil Soil cover 29% Plastic mulch

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