Corn Product Response to Nitrogen Strategy

Trial Overview

  • Questions about how corn products respond to different management strategies can be perplexing as information gleaned from discussions with neighbors about product performance may not provide a complete story as to why a corn product did or did not yield as expected.
  • A study was initiated to evaluate two different nitrogen (N) application strategies on multiple corn products to help provide a few answers to farmers about the impact of N strategy on corn yield.

Research Objective

  • The objective of this study was to investigate if the N application strategy impacted corn products differently. Two N application strategies were used: all upfront prior to planting or fertigation over the growing season.
Soil Type
Previous Crop
Tillage Type
Planting Date
Harvest Date
Potential Yield
Planting Rate
Gothenburg, NE
Hord silt loam
Strip tillage
270 bu/acre
36,000 seeds/acre

Site Notes:

A standard formula was used to determine N application rates: 
          - N need = (yield goal * 1.1) - (soil N) - (legume credit) 
          - 194 lbs/acre = (270 bu/acre * 1.1) - (63 lbs soil N in 2 ft) - (40 lbs/acre)
N treatments were applied as all N upfront or via fertigation consisting of eight applications of 15 lbs of N/acre.The study was a split-plot design with N strategy as the whole plot with four replications.Corn products were grown under full irrigation using a subsurface drip irrigation system. Total irrigation applied to all products was 9.2 inches over the growing season.Barren plants, green-snapped plants, and plants that died prematurely were recorded.



Understanding the Results

Table 1. Nitrogen application rates and timing along with residual soil N and legume credits. Note that total N is slightly lower in the fertigation treatment.
  • Corn products responded differently to N strategy with 9 out of the 24 corn products tested having significantly increased yield in response to fertigation with a 12 bu/acre or more difference observed (Table 2).
  • The positive response to fertigation was not limited to a specific RM. Instead, the response was recorded in two 105 RM products all the way to the 117 RM product.
  • There was no interaction between N strategy and corn product for the incidence of barren plants, green-snapped plants, or plants that died prematurely.

What Does This Mean for Your Farm

  • This research provides farmers with another question that they should ask when choosing a corn product to make sure that the product fits their management practices. Whether they apply all the N upfront or can fertigate the N over the growing season, there are corn product options that can meet their needs.    
  • Farmers should work closely with their local seed sales team to properly choose and place corn products to maximize environment and management potential.
  • Seed sales teams can identify how their corn products performed in this trial.