Grass and legume cover crops are combined in mixtures to provide both weed and N fertility management in organic production; however, additional N fertility may be required to maximize corn yield. The research was conducted in Beltsville, MD; Kin-ston, NC; and Salisbury, NC; from 2012 to 2014 to evaluate the effect of starter fertilizer source and application method on weed competition and grain yield in cover crop-based, organic corn production. Fertility treatments included high rate broadcast poultry litter (Plant available nitrogen [PAN] = 160 kg ha–1), low rate broadcast poultry litter (PAN = 72 kg ha–1), subsurface banded feather meal (PAN = 80 kg ha–1), subsurface banded poultry litter (PAN = 12 kg ha–1), and no starter fertility. A cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) mixture was established in the fall and was terminated using a roller-crimper before corn planting. Cover crop biomass more than 7500 kg ha–1 provided excellent weed suppression. In a combined analysis of five environments, corn N content and yield followed the same pattern of high rate broadcast poultry litter > low rate broadcast poultry litter = subsurface banded feather meal > subsurface banded poultry litter = no starter fertility. Results from this study indicate that starter fertilizer is necessary to maximize corn yield in cover crop-based organic corn production and that decisions regarding additional fertility will need to be dynamic based on site history, cover crop biomass production, and the ability to broadcast poultry litter.
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2017|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the American Society of Agronomy.
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science