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March 22, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Planting Date and N Availability Impact Fall N Uptake of Triticale

Planting Date and N Availability Impact Fall N Uptake of Triticale

Sarah E. Lyonsa, Quirine M. Ketteringsa, Greg Godwina, Jerome H. Cherneyb, Karl J. Czymmeka,c, and Tom Kilcera,d
a
Nutrient Management Spear Program, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, b Soil and Crop Sciences Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, c PRODAIRY, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and d Advanced Agricultural Systems, LLC, Kinderhook, NY

Introduction
Triticale planted as a double or cover crop after corn silage harvest in the fall can provide many benefits to forage rotations in the Northeast, including reduced risk of soil erosion over the winter months, enhanced soil organic matter, improved rotation diversity, and, if grown as a double crop, increased total season yields. In addition, triticale has the potential to take up readily available nutrients either left over from the previous crop or from fall-applied manure, reducing the potential for nutrient loss. The benefit of fall nutrient uptake will depend on how early the winter cereals are planted in the fall. To evaluate the impact of planting date and nitrogen (N) availability on the growth and N uptake of triticale, four trials were conducted from 2012-2014.

Trial Set-Up
The four trials were planted with triticale (King’s Agri-Seeds Trical 815 variety) from late August to early October in eastern NY (Valatie) and central NY (Varna). Each trial had two planting dates and, to create a range in soil nitrate availability, 5 N rates were applied at planting in the fall (0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 lbs N/acre). Triticale was planted at 1-inch seeding depth and 7.5-inch row spacing (120 lbs/acre seeding rate). In late November prior to frost, we sampled the above ground biomass and analyzed the biomass for carbon and nitrogen. The “Apparent N Recovery (ANR)” was also calculated for each trial to see how efficient the triticale was at recovering fall-applied N. The ANR is calculated by subtracting the total amount of N in the biomass when no N was applied from the amount of N in the biomass when N was applied, and dividing that value by the actual amount of N applied: ANR (%) = (Triticale NN rate – Triticale N0 N)/N rate. A higher ANR means more of the N that was applied was taken up by the triticale.

Results
Triticale planted before September 20 had more biomass than plots planted after September 20. For the triticale planted after the 20th, there was no increase in biomass when N was added. However, when triticale was planted earlier, N addition resulted in increased growth (Figure 1a). Across all N rates, biomass ranged from 0.6 to 1.1 tons DM/acre and averaged 0.9 tons DM/acre when planted before September 20, and 0.2 to 0.3 tons DM/acre with an average of 0.2 tons DM/acre when planted after September 20. These results are consistent with earlier studies in New York (see Ort et al., 2013), where triticale planted prior to September 20 yielded, on average, 0.7 tons DM/acre above-ground biomass in the fall, versus 0.2 tons DM/acre with later plantings.

In all four trials, biomass and N uptake were linearly related, meaning that as biomass increased, so did N uptake (Figure 1B). Thus, as N addition for later plantings did not increase yield, it also did not increase N uptake. Across all N rates, N uptake ranged from 36 to 78 lbs N/acre and averaged 62 lbs N/acre for the triticale planted before September 20, and ranged from 16 to 20 lbs N/acre with an average of 19 lbs N/acre for triticale planted after September 20. For every ton of DM triticale biomass produced in the fall, approximately 70 lbs of N was taken up.

Figure 1: Above-ground fall biomass accumulation (A) and nitrogen uptake (B) of triticale at different planting dates and N rates averaged across four trials.

Figure 2: Apparent nitrogen recovery (ANR) of triticale at different planting dates and fall N fertilizer rates, averaged across four trials.

The apparent N recovery was greater for earlier plantings (Figure 2). This is related to increased biomass production for the earlier planting dates, which has a direct impact on N uptake capacity of the triticale. The ANR averaged 47% for triticale planted before September 20, and only 5% for triticale planted after September 20.

Conclusions and Implications
Winter cereals, like triticale, grown as double or cover crops can take up residual N as well as additional N applied at or close to planting but the amount of N taken up depends on planting date. Triticale in this study was able to accumulate 0.9 tons DM/acre and take up 62 lbs N/acre on average when planted before September 20, but only 0.2 tons DM/acre biomass and 19 lbs/acre of N on average when it was planted after September 20. Additional N did not influence biomass or N uptake if triticale was planted late, but when planted early biomass did increase with greater N availability showing the benefits of early seeding for utilizing end-of-season N or newly applied N from manure. Planting winter cereals like triticale can sequester N that could otherwise be lost as well as provide dairy farmers with an additional opportunity to apply manure while reducing the risk of N loss. More research is needed to determine more precise planting windows for optimal N utilization by winter cereals in the Northeast, as well as determining an upper limit to the amount of manure that can be applied in the fall if a winter cover or double crop is planted.

Reference
Ort, S.B., Q.M. Ketterings, K.J. Czymmek, G.S. Godwin, S.N. Swink, and S.K. Gami. 2013. Carbon and nitrogen uptake of cereal cover crops following corn silage. What’s Cropping Up? 23: 5-6. Available at: https://scs.cals.cornell.edu/extension-outreach/whats-cropping-up.

Acknowledgements
This work was supported by Federal Formula Funds, and grants from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP), New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI), and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE). For questions about these results, contact Quirine M. Ketterings at 607-255-3061 or qmk2@cornell.edu, and/or visit the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program website at: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/

 

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February 7, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on What’s Cropping Up? Volume 27 Number 1 – January/February 2017

What’s Cropping Up? Volume 27 Number 1 – January/February 2017

The full version of What’s Cropping Up? Volume 27 No. 1 is available as a downloadable PDF and on issuu.  Individual articles are available below:

December 22, 2016
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Impact of manure injection on alfalfa and grass hay stands

Impact of manure injection on alfalfa and grass hay stands

Amir Sadeghpour1, Quirine Ketterings1, Gregory Godwin1, Karl Czymmek1,2
1Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program, 2PRODAIRY

Background
Producers in New York have shown interest in injecting manure into grass fields and alfalfa fields but have concerns about the potential for mechanical damage when injecting manure. In 2014 and 2015, six field trials were conducted to answer two questions: (1) will application of manure increase alfalfa and grass yields?, and (2) does injection reduce yields due to mechanical damage of the root system? In 2014, trials were conducted using a 4th year, low producing, tall fescue site and a thin 4th year alfalfa stand at the Musgrave Research Farm, in Aurora, NY. These two trials were continued in 2015. In 2015, we also added two trials using two higher-producing 2nd year alfalfa fields at the Cornell University Ruminant Center (CURC), in Harford, NY. Treatments included: (1) “disk down no manure” (slicing the soil, no manure) (2) injection of liquid dairy manure (slicing the soil, with manure); (3) no manure addition (no slicing, no manure); and (4) surface application of manure (no slicing, with manure). In the alfalfa trial at Aurora, manure was applied after 1st cutting in both years (4000 gallons/acre in 2014 and 8000 gallons in 2015). In the tall fescue trial, manure was applied after 1st and 3rd cutting in 2014 (4000 gallons/acre) and in 2015 (8000 gallons/acre for each application). The 1st manure application to the CURC sites (4000 gallons/acre) took place in the fall of 2014, after 4th cutting. At CURC, a second manure application (8000 gallons/acre) took place after 1st cutting in the spring of 2015. Manure was injected using a Veenhuis shallow disk injector in 2014 and a modified, larger scale, unit in 2015 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A shallow disk injector designed for small scale research used in 2014 (A) and a shallow disk injector designed for large scale operation used in 2015 (B).

Figure 1. A shallow disk injector designed for small scale research used in 2014 (A) and a shallow disk injector designed for large scale operation used in 2015 (B).

Does hay benefit from manure?
In Aurora, manure application to the older alfalfa stand resulted in a 0.40 (2-4th cutting, 2014) and 0.32 ton/acre (1-4th cutting, 2015) increase in yield, for both injected and surface-applied manure. The tall fescue stand at Aurora also responded with 0.39 (2nd+3rd cutting, 2014) and 1.49 ton/acre (1-4th cutting, 2015) higher yield with manure application (Table 1). In contrast to the findings for these old stands at Aurora, the 2nd year alfalfa at the CURC site did not respond to manure addition (Table 1). Alfalfa yields in 2015 were more than 2-fold higher at the Harford site compared to Aurora, most likely reflecting the age of the stand and manure history of the fields.

Does injecting manure decrease hay yield?
In Aurora, alfalfa and tall fescue yields were comparable between “disks down” (injected) and “disks up” (surface applied) treatments (Table 2) and also for the younger and higher producing alfalfa trials at CURC injection did not help or hurt yields.

Conclusions
Though more research (additional locations and year) is needed before drawing broad conclusions, in the test conditions here, manure application benefited old hay stands, both alfalfa and tall fescue, while neither benefiting nor harming higher producing 2nd year alfalfa. These results suggest that grass benefits most from manure addition but that yields of old alfalfa stands can be increased with manure as well. These results suggest as well that manure injection does not harm the stand. Further research is needed to better understand what drives the yield response.

Acknowledgments
NMSP ackThis material is based upon work that is supported in part by USDA-CIG (NFWF), Federal Formula Funds, Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future at Cornell, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, under Award no. 2013-68002-20525. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA. We thank Aurora Ridge Dairy Farm for providing the liquid manure, Peter Kleinman of USDA-ARS for loaning us the Veenhuis unit in 2014, and Scott Potter for working with us on the applications in 2015. For questions about these results contact Quirine M. Ketterings at 607-255-3061 or qmk2@cornell.edu, and/or visit the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program website at: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/.

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December 12, 2016
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Stalk Nitrate Test Results for New York Corn Fields from 2010 through 2016

Stalk Nitrate Test Results for New York Corn Fields from 2010 through 2016

Quirine Ketterings1, Karl Czymmek1,2, Sanjay Gami1, Mike Reuter3, and Mike Rutzke4
1
Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program, 2PRODAIRY, 3Dairy One, and 4Cornell Nutrient Analysis Laboratory

Introduction
The corn stalk nitrate test (CSNT) is an end-of-season evaluation tool for nitrogen (N) management for 2nd or higher year corn fields. The greatest benefit of this test is that it allows for evaluation and fine-tuning of N management for individual fields over time. Corn stalk nitrate test results >2000 ppm indicate that more N was available during the growing season than the crop needed.

Findings 2010-2016
The summary of CSNT results for the past seven years is shown in Table 1. For 2016, 51% of all tested fields had CSNTs greater than 2000 ppm, while 37% were over 3000 ppm and 19% exceeded 5000 ppm. In contrast, 13% of the 2016 samples tested low in CSNT.

ketterings-table-1
Crop history, manure history, other N inputs, soil type, and growing conditions all impact CSNT results, and crop management records that include these pieces of information can be used to evaluate CSNT results and determine where changes can be made. Weed pressure, disease pressure, lack of moisture in the root zone in drought years, lack of oxygen in the root zone due to excessive rain (anaerobic soil conditions), and other stress factors can impact the N status of the crop as well, so in some circumstances, additional N might not have been able to overcome the real reason for the low CSNTs (e.g. no amount of N fertilizer can make up for a drought).

The 2016 data are consistent with 2012, another drought year with just 13.6 inches of rainfall between May and August. Large percentages of excessive CSNTs (36-40%) are also observed during very good growing seasons (2010, 2014) possibly due to a greater N supply by soils when growing conditions are good (moisture and heat).

These data point out the need to evaluate CSNT result in light of not just manure and fertilizer N management but also in light of the weather patterns that year. It does, also show the need for multiple years of testing to gain experience with on-farm interpretation. In addition, within-field spatial variability can be considerable in New York, requiring (1) high density sampling (1 stalk per acre at a minimum) for accurate assessment of whole fields, or (2) targeted sampling based on yield zones, elevations, or soil management units. It is recommended to gather at least two years of data before making any management changes unless CSNT’s exceed 5000 ppm (in which case one year of data is sufficient).

Figure 1: In drought years like 2016, more samples test excessive in CSNT while fewer test low or marginal. This is consistent with the reduced yields in drought years.

Figure 1: In drought years like 2016, more samples test excessive in CSNT while fewer test low or marginal. This is consistent with the reduced yields in drought years.

Relevant References

Acknowledgments
NMSP ackThe thank the many farmers and farm consultants that sampled their fields for CSNT. For questions about these results contact Quirine M. Ketterings at 607-255-3061 or qmk2@cornell.edu, and/or visit the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program website at: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/.

October 5, 2016
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on What’s Cropping Up? – Volume 26 No. 5 – September/October Edition

What’s Cropping Up? – Volume 26 No. 5 – September/October Edition

The full version of What’s Cropping Up? Volume 26 No. 5 is available as a downloadable PDF and on issuu.  Individual articles are available below:

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September 30, 2016
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Impact of manure and compost management on soil organic matter and nitrate dynamics

Impact of manure and compost management on soil organic matter and nitrate dynamics

Amir Sadeghpour1, Sarah Hetrick1, Karl Czymmek1,2, Gregory Godwin1, Quirine Ketterings1
1
Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program, 2PRODAIRY

Introduction
When manure is applied in the fall or in spring without incorporation at rates to meet the nitrogen (N) needs of corn, phosphorus (P) often ends up being applied at a rate that exceeds crop removal, leading to an increase in soil test P over time. When soil test P levels are low or medium, this is a desirable way to build P fertility. As soil test P increases, agronomic justification for application is reduced, and the soil may reach a level of P saturation where managing risk of P runoff becomes a priority. It is important for farms that land-apply manure to consider P build up and draw down over time. To reduce the rate of P buildup, manure rates will need to be reduced while meeting N requirements where possible. Immediate incorporation of manure in the spring conserves significant ammonia N and is one way to compensate for lower application of N and also keep P in line. Manure, either in liquid or in more solid form, contains organic material that can contribute to an increase in SOM over time. On the other hand, SOM can be negatively impacted by tillage. Here we show changes in SOM and soil nitrate after surface application of compost and manure at high rates versus lower rate of manure with chisel incorporation in a corn silage system.

Field trial
In 2001, an experiment was initiated in Aurora, NY, on a field that had no prior manure history. The study implemented five replications and six treatments: (1) low rate of composted dairy solids (P-based; 20 tons/acre), (2) high rate of composted dairy solids (N-based; 32 tons/acre), (3) low rate of liquid dairy manure with immediate (within one hour) tillage incorporation (P-based; 7,000 gals/acre), (4) high rate of liquid dairy manure application (N-based; 21,000 gals/acre), (5) zero N control (0 lbs N/acre) and (6) side-dress inorganic N (urea ammonium nitrate) at the recommended rate of 100 lbs N/acre. For field preparation, each plot was chisel-plowed, disked, and rolled using a cultimulcher. The low rate of manure received one extra pass of the chisel-plow (two passes in total) to incorporate the manure directly after application. Corn for silage was planted and harvested from 2001-2006.

What did we find?
Soil Organic Matter:
At the start of the experiment, the SOM was 3.5%. After five years of annual addition of high rates of compost, SOM had increased to 3.9% (Fig. 1). Addition of compost at the low rate did not increase SOM. Applying the high rate of manure did not impact SOM while the tillage-incorporation of the lower manure rate resulted in an 11% decrease in SOM (Fig. 1). The plots that did not receive any manure or compost showed an 18% decrease in SOM compared to the original levels (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Soil organic matter. Treatments were HC: high rate of compost; LC: low rate of compost; HM: high rate of manure; LM: low rate of manure; N0: zero N control; and N100: 100 lbs sidedressed N/acre. This figure is comparing soil organic matter in April 2006 with soil organic matter in April 2001 for each fertility treatment.

ig. 1: Soil organic matter. Treatments were HC: high rate of compost; LC: low rate of compost; HM: high rate of manure; LM: low rate of manure; N0: zero N control; and N100: 100 lbs sidedressed N/acre. This figure is comparing soil organic matter in April 2006 with soil organic matter in April 2001 for each fertility treatment.

Soil Nitrate: End-of-season soil nitrate was impacted by fertility management as reflected in the amount of nitrate present in 0-8 inch soil cores collected at three different time periods: immediately after harvest, December before snow, and the following April. We excluded the first two transition years and focused on the last three years of the study (2003-2005). Averaged over growing seasons 4, 5 and 6, once differences were observed, soil nitrate loss in the fall (from September to December) was highest where inorganic N had been used (38% loss). The large decrease in soil nitrate between September and snowfall (December) with inorganic N management of corn reflected N loss through leaching and/or denitrification. In compost amended plots, soil nitrate measured in December was 8% higher than what was measured in September (Fig. 2), suggesting that nitrate mineralization in that time period exceeded nitrate-loss. The same was seen for the plots that had received the lower rate of manure (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Soil nitrate (0-8 inches) levels as influenced by fertility treatments from September to April (averaged over 2003-2005). Treatments were HC: high rate of compost; LC: low rate of compost; HM: high rate of manure; LM: low rate of manure; N0: a zero N control; and N100: 100 lbs sidedressed N/acre.

Fig. 2. Soil nitrate (0-8 inches) levels as influenced by fertility treatments from September to April (averaged over 2003-2005). Treatments were HC: high rate of compost; LC: low rate of compost; HM: high rate of manure; LM: low rate of manure; N0: a zero N control; and N100: 100 lbs sidedressed N/acre.

These results suggest that when manure and compost are added, mineralization of organic N into nitrate continues between September and December. The following April, soil nitrate levels were similar among all treatments each year, showing a “reset” of nitrate levels reflecting weather in the fall, winter and spring. The nitrate dynamics for both the inorganic fertilizer plots and the manure and compost plots emphasize the importance of planting cover crop species with the ability to grow rapidly in the fall and to overwinter as some of the N lost between harvest and the planting the next spring could have been captured by winter hardy cover crops.

Conclusions
In this experiment, SOM levels decrease in a tilled corn silage/hay/corn grain rotation, with all but the highest level of carbon addition in the high compost treatments. This suggests that application of manure during the corn years is not enough to improve SOM when regular tillage is also part of the management system. The benefits to increasing SOM are well known. For farms that want to increase SOM, it may be necessary to minimize tillage and include cover crops. A shift from high to low rates of manure and compost decreased end-of-season nitrate in the soil but, when combined with tillage-incorporation of the manure, negatively impacted SOM. Manure injection rather than tillage-based incorporation may counteract the negative impacts of a tillage-based manure incorporation system while conserving N and reducing soil test P buildup over time. Inclusion of overwintering cover crops when manure and compost are applied, will aid in capturing of N mineralized in the fall. This could also help with N supply in the spring as earlier work has shown somewhat suppressed yields with P-based application of manure and compost due to an N limitation.

Relevant References

  • Sadeghpour, A., Q.M. Ketterings, G.S. Godwin, K.J. Czymmek. 2016a. Nitrogen vs. phosphorus-based manure and compost management of corn. Agronomy Journal 108: 185-195.
  • Sadeghpour, A., Q.M. Ketterings, F. Vermeylen, G.S. Godwin, K.J. Czymmek. 2016b. Soil properties under nitrogen- vs phosphorus-based manure and compost management of corn. Soil Science Society of America Journal doi: 10.2136/sssaj2016.03.0086.

Acknowledgments
This material is based upon work that is supported in part by Federal Formula Funds and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, under Award no. 2013-68002-20525. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA. We thank Aurora Ridge Dairy Farm for providing the liquid manure. Composted dairy solids were supplied by Willet Dairy (years 1 and 2) and Fessenden Dairy (years 3 through 5). For questions about these results contact Quirine M. Ketterings at 607-255-3061 or qmk2@cornell.edu, and/or visit the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program website at: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/.
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