Main content area

Nutrient and dry matter accumulation rates for high yielding maize

Karlen, D.L., Flannery, R.L., Sadler, E.J.
Journal of plant nutrition 1987 v.10 no.9/16 pp. 1409
Zea mays, high-yielding varieties, nutrient content, dry matter accumulation, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, crop management, New Jersey
Various effects have significantly increased maize dry matter, grain yield, and nutrient accumulation when compared to benchmark data collected by Sayre in 1940 and Hanway in 1959. To evaluate the effects of changes in management practices on seasonal rates of accumulation, aerial dry matter and N, P and K accumulation data from the benchmark studies, 2 recent field studies and a 1985 maximum economic yield (MEY) study were described with compound cubic polynomials. The equations were differentiated to determine rates and plotted as a function of growing degree units. Aerial accumulation patterns were similar for all 5 studies even though grain yields averaged 6.4 and 7.1 t/ha in the benchmark studies, 9.7 and 14.0 t/ha in recent studies, and 19.3 t/ha in the MEY study. Peak daily N, P and K accumulation rates during vegetative growth were 3, 2 and 6 times higher with intensive management than in benchmark studies. During grain-filling, peak accumulation rates were doubled for N and P, but unchanged for K. Rate curves for all 5 data sets showed distinct peaks during both vegetative and reproduction growth stages. Double peaks suggest that for maximum maize yield a minimum stress environment must be provided during both vegetative and reproductive stages. These results can be used to project optimum management strategies for profitable maize production.