Reducing Phosphorus Fertilizer Inputs for Field Corn Production
Phosphorus (P) accumulation on farms has led to high soil test P levels and increased P runoff and leaching from agricultural fields in many Northeastern states. The aim of the NY Starter P Project is to reduce P fertilizer use for growing corn on fields that test high or very high in P. In addition, we aim to establish and strengthen research/extension collaboration among producers, extension, universities, agribusiness, and agencies on issues of importance for the sustainability of agriculture. We proposed to achieve these goals through the establishment of on-farm trials, field days, extension meetings and documentation and by working with a collaborative network of producers, agribusiness, university faculty and staff, and regulatory agencies.
Our performance targets were:
1) 30 corn growers in 2002 and 2003 will conduct on-farm replicated trials, and they will show increased interest in on-farm experimentation following the termination of the project. Of the producers, 25 will reduce starter P use to <20 lbs P2O5/acre following the termination of the project;
2) 75% of New York corn silage and grain corn growers will be aware that starter P on high P soils and soils that receive manure is rarely needed.
3) 30% of the registered farmer participants in field days and extension meetings will re-evaluate starter P use for corn within the duration of the project and reduce starter P use by 50% or more; and
4) 20 extension field staff will be trained in on-farm experiment management, generate more reliable results with on-farm trials, and establish working relationships with producers that lead to continuation of on-farm experimentation following the termination of this project.
In 2002, 16 on-farm demonstration trials (two or more replicates) and six research trials (four replicates) were conducted. Results of both the research and the demonstration trials showed the no-yield penalty occurs when P is left out of the starter on soils test high or very high in P. Results of the 2002 trials reached >500 people in 2002 through the field days, the Field Crops Dealer Meetings, and various local extension meetings. This month, a “What’s Cropping Up?” article will appear. The article will be downloadable from our project website (http://www.css.cornell.edu/nmsp/projects/starterp.asp). The first coordinated impact assessment will be conducted this winter. The on-farm research workshop will be held on April 1 and 2, 2003.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
- 22 successfully completed field trials
a “What’s Cropping Up?” extension article summarizing the 2002 results
a slide set
increased project awareness through extension events