Site-Specific Versus Whole-Field Fertility And Lime Management In Michigan Soybeans And Corn
Prior research into variable-rate application (VRA) of fertilizer nutrients has found profitability to be lacking in single nutrient applications to U.S. cereal crops. This study examines the yield and cost effects of VRA phosphorus, potassium and lime application on Michigan corn and soybean farm fields in 1998-2001. After four years, we found no yield gain from site-specific management, but statistically significant added costs, resulting in no gain in profitability. Contrary to results elsewhere, there was no evidence of enhanced spatial yield stability due to site-specific fertility management. Likewise, there was no evidence of decreased variability of phosphorus, potassium or lime after VRA treatment. Site-specific response functions and yield goals might also enhance the likelihood of profitable VRA in the future.
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