Fertility: Bumping Yields

cover_dec09University and farmer in-field trials test a soil-applied fertilizer
and nutrient additive in a starter fertilizer program.

In the hilly area of West Tennessee, growers mainly plant no-till corn to reduce erosion problems. Starter fertilizer generally works well with no-till corn production, according to Dr. Donald Howard, Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee. “A greater response from starters is expected from no-till when planting corn the first of April because the soils are cooler than when planting toward the end of April or May,” says Howard, who lives in Jackson. “The earlier we plant no-till, and to some degree conventional till, the greater the yield response from starters.”

Near the end of April 2008, Howard and his partner Paulus Shelby, also Professor Emeritus of the University of Tennessee, conducted corn trials to measure the effects of adding Carbon Boost-S, a soil-applied fertilizer and nutrient additive, to a conventional starter fertilizer program.

They used three treatments: the check, which was treated with ammonium nitrate; plots treated with ammonium nitrate, plus four gallons per acre of 10-34-0 applied in-furrow as a starter at planting; and plots treated with ammonium nitrate and four gallons per acre of 10-34-0 mixed with five ounces of Carbon Boost-S.

Tennessee’s Corn Trial Details
Each treatment – the control, the conventional fertilizer program and the Carbon Boost-S program – was repeated three times to compare the response when different nitrogen (N) rates were used. Ammonium nitrate rates of 100, 125 and 150 units of N per acre were applied to the plots in order to measure the effect of each treatment on N efficiency.

“This test was planted in late April so we weren’t holding out much hope for a significant yield increase,” Howard says. However, the study concluded that the inclusion of Carbon Boost-S increased corn yields by an average of 13.3 bushels per acre when compared to the plots that only received ammonium nitrate and 10-34-0 starter. The Carbon Boost-S and starter combination helped increase yields an average of 19.6 bushels per acre over the application of ammonium nitrate alone.

After the corn was planted, the three N rates were broadcast on the soil surface. “The starters were applied in-furrow at planting or in direct contact with the seed,” Howard says. “In our starter research, the seed is dropped and the fertilizer is applied, which actually covers the seed. We wanted the starters with and without the Carbon Boost-S applied close to the seed so the plant could utilize it a little more effectively than it would when the materials are applied on the surface or to the side of the seed.”

In addition to evaluating yields, Howard and Shelby also took leaf tissue samples from each treatment at the fifth leaf stage to analyze nutrient uptake. The results showed a five percent higher level of N in the Carbon Boost-S treated corn. The Carbon Boost-S plots also had higher levels of zinc and iron.

“Starters require extra time to apply, so you have to see if it’s a paying proposition for your management system,” Howard adds. “In fact, one grower told me that if a starter would increase his yields by 10 extra bushels, and corn was selling for $4 per bushel, that’s $40 per acre. When planting 1,000 acres, the practice would pay and fit his management system.”

MS Farmer Sidedresses Application
Mississippi grower Mike Williamson conducted a large scale test this year to test Carbon Boost-S on 250 of his 560 acres of corn. He sidedressed the material with 32 percent on his second application.

“Our first application was 28-0-0-5, which was like 105 units of nitrogen per acre,” says Williamson, who farms near Sherad. “We came back with about the same amount of 32 percent and 8 ounces of Carbon Boost-S applied on the side of the row.

“Visually, I saw no difference during the season between the non-treated and the Carbon Boost-S treated corn, but the treated corn gave us an 8.4-bushel per acre yield increase with Pioneer 32B34 and 7.8 bushels more with AgVenture R9534.

“The yield increase isn’t guesswork. We planted a certain amount of rows side by side with the two different hybrids. I first cut the strip without the Carbon Boost-S, carried it to the elevator, dumped it, weighed it and saw how many bushels came out of that. Then I repeated the procedure with the Carbon Boost-S treated corn.”

All tests were conducted in the same field, which was 80 percent pivot-irrigated. The Carbon Boost-S treated Pioneer and AgVenture hybrids made 201.4 and 195.8 bushels per acre, respectively; and 193.0 and 188.0 bushels without it, respectively.

“Again, we sidedressed Carbon Boost-S,” Williamson says. “I feel we’ll do even better using Carbon Boost-S as an in-furrow starter. It worked well for us in 2009, and we plan on using it again.”

Testing And Validating Results
Carbon Boost-S is a soil-applied fertilizer and nutrient additive that is based on sound science and has been tested in more than 400 field trials as well as by university and independent researchers.

Dr. John Bradley, FBSciences Vice President of Technical Sales Development, says, “When Carbon Boost-S is added to existing soil fertilizer applications, plants are more rapidly and efficiently able to absorb and translocate vital nutrients. Carbon Boost-S consistently enhances plant growth and increases yield.


Carbon Boost-S Applications

• At or near corn planting with starter fertilizer (in-furrow, broadcast or 2” x 2”).

• With herbicide application.

• As a sidedress application with liquid or dry fertilizers.


“Ever since I joined FBSciences two years ago, I have been involved in validating the positive results of Carbon Boost-S, including improved germination and emergence, enhanced root growth, increased nutrient uptake and mobility in the plant. Carbon Boost-S also promotes earliness and general plant health, increased yield and improved crop quality.”

Carbon Boost-S can be applied at or near corn planting with starter fertilizer (in-furrow, broadcast or 2” x 2”), with herbicide application or as a sidedress application with liquid or dry fertilizers.

To learn more, call (866) 360-7598 or visit www.FBSciences.com.

Information for this article was contributed by FBSciences.

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