Source: CORNELL UNIVERSITY submitted to
REDUCING PHOSPHORUS FERTILIZER INPUTS FOR FIELD CORN PRODUCTION
Sponsoring Institution
State Agricultural Experiment Station
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0194185
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NYC-125350
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Aug 1, 2002
Project End Date
Jul 30, 2005
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Ketterings, Q. M.
Recipient Organization
CORNELL UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
ITHACA,NY 14853
Performing Department
CROP & SOIL SCIENCES
Non Technical Summary
The addition of phosphorus fertilizer to soils testing high in P reduces farm profitability and increases the risk for P losses to the environment. In this project we implement P recommendations for corn on NY farms and research stations in different parts of the state. Through field days, winter meetings and extension articles, we aim to reach a large portion of NY corn growers and reduce the use of starter P fertilizer on farm fields where a response to P is very unlikely.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1020199100040%
1021510100040%
1120199100010%
1121510100010%
Goals / Objectives
The overall objective is to improve the N and P balance on NY farms by reducing unnecessary N and P imports as fertilizer and increasing on-farm nutrient use efficiency. Specific objectives are to: 1) reduce "insurance" P fertilizer use for corn on soils testing high for P; and 2) generate research datasets and on-field inspections needed for informed decision making and direct implementation by farmers and their consultants.
Project Methods
A combination of on-farm demonstration trials and fully replicated trials on Cornell research stations will be done to determine and demonstrate the requirements for phosphorus fertilizer for corn on soils testing high in phosphorus. On-farm trials will be established by Cornell Cooperative Extension educators in collaboration with agricultural agencies, agribusiness and university researchers. Treatments added to the producer's own fertilizer blend and rate are: 1) no starter application; 2) no P in the starter; and 3) 20 lbs of P2O5 in the starter. Trials will be harvested for silage or grain. Statewide awareness of the project will be gained through field days, extension session, articles and the Nutrient Management Spear Program website.

Progress 08/01/02 to 07/30/05

Outputs
A total of 38 on-farm trials were completed in growing seasons 2002-2003 through the efforts of 12 extension cooperators and 30 corn producers. Results of the New York Starter Phosphorus on-farm trials and experimental field trials were presented at 12 Field Crop Dealer meetings, at CCA trainings, and more than 25 winter extension meetings, reaching more than 1200 corn producers, dealers and consultants. Over 1,380 corn producers, dealers and consultants participated in field days and extension meetings over the term of the project, nearly 3 times our target of 500 participants which was met by the end of 2002. From 2002 through 2004, 35 articles were published in extension newsletters serving 22 counties and in What is Cropping Up?, the Cornell field crops newsletter, reaching a combined circulation over 6,800. Participating farmers showed increased interest in on-farm experimentation even before termination of the project: at least 6 project participants conducted trials in other on-farm projects between 2002 and 2004 in cooperation with their county field crop extension educator and the Nutrient Management Spear Program. Surveys showed that many were aware of the project and/or its findings; 72 percent of 259 survey respondents at the Field Crop meetings (January-March 2004) and 90 percent of 30 respondents from the NY Corn Growers Association (largely grain growers) indicated they were aware that starter P is rarely needed on high P soils and soils that receive manure. The project convinced 17 percent of the corn producers surveyed to reduce starter P application. The actual reduction in P imports for surveyed farms that reduced starter P use in the past 5 years amounted to 377 tons of P2O5 (on almost 30,000 acres of corn land). The project showed that soil test based management for corn starters can save dairy producers money without sacrificing yield or quality.

Impacts
Over 350 corn producers were surveyed and according to this survey, the project convinced 17 percent of the corn producers surveyed to reduce starter P application. The actual reduction in P imports for farms that reduced starter P use in the past 5 years amounted to 377 tons of P2O5 (on almost 30,000 acres of corn land). Full impact of our activities in New York can only be assessed once the NYSDAM completes it annual fertilizer sales assessment for 2005. It is expected from the results of this survey that at least 18-50 percent of those newly aware of the New York Starter P Project results will make some reduction in their application of starter P based on this awareness, levels of manure use and the results of soil tests. Getting field research out on farms and working in collaboration with producers was highly valued (Quote: The idea of doing this type of research on farm is win-win for everybody. It gets me out on farms. Gets me involved in what they are doing in the field. The other thing is that the learning model that goes with this is one that works. You cannot make behavioral change by simply talking about it. We have county specific research now. And we are able to produce impacts far quicker than we have been able to do with traditional research). Quotes from a producer: It showed me that you can grow corn with less phosphorus in the starter and still get a good yield and spend a little less and be more environmentally friendly. The fertilizer industry reacted as well. FS Gromark made two new bulk fertilizer grades with low P levels available.

Publications

  • Kilcer, T. 2002. Crop-Soil News (Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, and Columbia Counties). February 2002. (circulation: 325)
  • Dennis, M. 2002. Farm Flashes (Oneida Co). Starter fertilizer preliminary results are in. January 2002, pp. 6-7. (circulation: 505)
  • Kilcer, T. 2001. Crop and Soil News (Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, and Columbia Counties). Are you limiting corn yields with your starter fertilizer? March 2001. (circulation: 325)
  • Ketterings, Q. 2004. Farm Flashes (Oneida Co). Can you save dollars by reducing or omitting Phosphorus (P) fertilizer in the band for corn?. April 2004, p. 10. (circulation: 505)
  • Ketterings, Q. 2004. Lewis County AG Digest. Phosphorus Starter Project. Results of the 2003 growing season. March 2004.
  • Ketterings, Q. 2004. Crop-Soil News (Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, and Columbia Counties). Insert: NMSP Postcard Does your corn need starter phosphorus?. February 2004. (circulation: 325)
  • Herendeen, N. 2004. AgFocus (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties). Small investments in nutrient planning yield dividends. Vol 13, No. 1. January 2004. (circulation: 900)
  • Miller, J. 2004. Farm Flashes (Oneida Co). Crop shorts: Effect of starter P on corn yields in fields with high or very high soil test P. December 2003/January 2004, p. 1. (circulation: 505)
  • Carey, P. 2003. Farm and Garden News (Sullivan Co). Various short articles on Starter P. (circulation: 1600)
  • Bossard, S. 2003. Ag Viewpoint (Cayuga, Onondaga, Oswego Counties). Various short articles on Starter P. (circulation: 500)
  • Ketterings, Q. 2003. Jefferson County Extension Connection. Agriculture and Natural Resources. Vol. 5, Issue 6. October, 2003. Included Starter P Project article. (circulation: 900)
  • Kilcer, T. 2003. Crop-Soil News (Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, and Columbia Counties). February 2003. (circulation: 325)
  • Ketterings, Q. 2003. Steuben County Agricultural News. Article on 2002 Starter P results. Vol. 85, No. 2. February 2003.
  • Ketterings, Q. 2003. The Ag Program News (Schoharie Co). Nutrient management: Phosphorus Starter Project. Results of the 2002 growing season. Vol. 10, No. 2. April 2003, pp. 4-6.
  • Ketterings, Q. 2003. The Ag Program News (Schoharie Co). Clippings from the Miner Agricultural Institute Farm Report, Oct. and Dec. 2002: Starter P trial results. Vol. 10, No. 1. February 2003, p. 8.
  • Dennis, M. 2002. Farm Flashes (Oneida Co). Starter P highlighted in fertilizer recommendation article. May 2002. (circulation: 505)
  • Czymmek, K., Ketterings, Q., Ten Eyck, J. and Horvath, T. 2005. Clearwaters. The New York CAFO Program: Successfully Connecting Science, Policy, Regulation, and Implementation. Spring 2005, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 27-28. (circulation: over 2,500)
  • Thomas, E. 2005. Farming. The Journal of Northeast Agriculture. Forages: What is new in field crops for 2005. January 2005, p. 24-26. (circulation 25,000)
  • Sprague, D. 2004. Country Folks. New York State Starter Phosphorus Project. March 22, 2004. Section A Page 6. (circulation: 15,000)
  • Vogel, J. 2004. American Agriculturalist. Save on corn starter: Farm based New York trials show where starter phosphorus fertilizer can be reduced or eliminated. March 2004, p. 26. (circulation: 33,000)
  • Thomas, E. 2004. Farming. The Journal of Northeast Agriculture. Forages: What is new in field crops for 2004. January 2004, p. 26. (circulation 25,000)
  • Harlow, S. 2003. Northeast Dairy Business. P restraint will not shrink yields. December 2003, p. 69. (circulation 16,560)
  • Miller, J. and Stockin, K. 2004. Farm Flashes (Oneida Co). Crop Shorts: Have you sampled your soil, do you need to apply P? November and December 2004, p. 4. (circulation: 505)
  • Hunter, M. 2004. Jefferson County Extension Connection. Agriculture and Natural Resources. NYS Starter P Project results. April 2004. (circulation: 900)
  • Ketterings, Q.M., S.N. Swink, G. Godwin, K.J. Czymmek, and G.L. Albrecht. 2005. Maize silage yield and quality response to starter phosphorus fertilizer in high phosphorus soils in New York. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment. Vol. 3 (2): 237-242.
  • Kilcer, T. 2005. Country Folks. Are you throwing away fertilizer? May 2, 2005, P. 11. (circulation 15,000)
  • Czymmek, K., Ketterings, Q. and Albrecht, G. 2005. Small Farm Quarterly. Dairy Producers: Is it time to take a look at your phosphorus fertilizer rates for corn? April 11, 2005, p. 8. (circulation 26,000)
  • Harlow, S. 2005. Northeast Dairy Business. Control your fertilizer bill. April 2005, p. 14. (circulation 16,560)
  • Ketterings, Q. and Czymmek, K. 2005. Northeast Dairy Business. How much P is enough? April 2005, p. 37. (circulation 16,560)


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Together with our collaborators, we completed a total of 65 on-farm trials and 9 research station trials. Data were analyzed for effect of starter P use on yield and forage quality. Based on the results of the past three years, we conclude that on sites that test high in P and have no manure applications planned for the season, no yield penalty is expected when P starter levels are reduced below 25 lbs P2O5/acre. On sites that test very high in P or when manure is applied to high testing sites, there is a low probability of a starter P response and P could be eliminated from the starter without a yield penalty. Corn responds to N in the starter band more often than P and we continue to recommend 20-30 lbs of banded starter N, even where P is eliminated. Also for silage quality differences were not significant and well within laboratory analytical uncertainty, indicating that leaving P out of the starter fertilizer in high or very high P soils did not impact silage quality. The study showed that with the increased attention directed toward P non-point source pollution, it makes little sense to use more starter P than is necessary to support optimum yields, especially on fields where significant amounts of manure nutrients are regularly applied. Six research reports were generated in the form of What is Cropping Up? articles. This includes three annual updates, an article on quality impacts and an article that evaluates potential P savings if P management is based on soil testing for 30 New York farms. New York corn growers were surveyed between August 2003 and May 2004 to assess: 1) current phosphorus (P) starter fertilizer use for corn; 2) awareness of starter P research carried out over the past 3 years (the New York Starter Phosphorus Project funded by NESARE and others); and 3) the likelihood of growers reducing P application rates in the future. The survey showed that during the past few years, 71 percent of the producers surveyed had heard about the New York Starter P Project. Fifty percent of these producers reduced P starter use over the past five years as compared to 32 percent of those who had no knowledge of the project. Current application rates across all farms averaged from 36 lbs P2O5 per acre for those that attended extension events in the winter of 2004 to 42 lbs P2O5 for members of the New York Corn Grower Association. Among those surveyed, 77 to 86 percent indicated they were more likely to soil test on a regular basis and to change rates if needed, hence further changes in starter P use are expected in the future. The completed survey as well as all articles are downloabable from the NYS Starter P Project website: http://nmsp.css.cornell.edu/projects/starterP/survey.pdf.

Impacts
At the end of this project, we expect to have achieved a reduction in P starter use in New York for corn grown on field testing high or very high in P. Outcomes to date included: 1) 71 successfully completed field trials; 2) increased experimental design understanding/skills among extension educators that participated in the On-farm Research Workshop; 3) What is Cropping Up? extension articles summarizing the 2000-2003 results and quality data; 4) a postcard that was mailed to a large audience through mailings; 5) a project handout that was distributed at field days and through newsletter; 6) a project poster that was displayed at extension events; and 7) greatly increased project awareness.

Publications

  • Ketterings, Q.M., S. Swink, G. Godwin, K.J. Czymmek, A. Durow, and G. Albrecht. 2004. New York Starter Phosphorus Project - Results of the 2003 growing season. What is Cropping Up? 14(1): 1-3.
  • Ketterings, Q.M., T. Byron, G. Godwin and K.J. Czymmek. 2003. Phosphorus Starter Project - Results of the 2002 growing season. What is Cropping Up? 13(1): 4-6.
  • Byron, T.M., Q.M. Ketterings, and K.J. Czymmek. 2002. Phosphorus starter demonstration project. Results of the 2001 growing season. What is Cropping Up? 12 (2): 4-5.
  • Czymmek, K., J. Degni and Q.M. Ketterings. 2001. Phosphorus starter demonstration project. Results of the 2000 Growing Season. What is Cropping Up? 11(3): 4-6.
  • Ketterings, Q.M., G. Albrecht, M. Hunter, P. Carey, S.N. Swink, and K.J. Czymmek. 2004. Whole farm corn starter phosphorus fertilizer imports. What is Cropping Up? 14(6): 3-5.
  • Ketterings, Q.M., S. Swink, G. Godwin, K.J. Czymmek, and G. Albrecht. 2004. New York Starter Phosphorus Project: Does starter P fertilizer impact silage quality? What is Cropping Up? 14(5): 1-2.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
The latest New York State soil test summaries indicate that about 50 percent of the soils tested for commercial agricultural production in 1997-2001 are classified as high or very high in phosphorus. The aim of the NY Starter P Project is to reduce P fertilizer use for growing corn on fields that test high or very high in P. In addition, we aim to establish and strengthen research/extension collaboration among producers, extension, universities, agribusiness and agencies on issues of importance for the sustainability of agriculture. We proposed to achieve these goals through the establishment of on-farm trials, field days, extension meetings and documentation and by working with a collaborative network of producers, agribusiness, university faculty and staff, and regulatory agencies. In 2003, 24 on-farm demonstration trials (2 or more replicates) were conducted in 16 different counties and lead by 12 extension educators. In addition, 4 research trials (4 replicates) were conducted. We are processing the samples and expect the results to be summarized in a couple of weeks. Preliminary observations and testimonials by participating producers and those that attended field days show little or no benefit from P applications on high P soils. We increased our outreach efforts through field days, articles in extension bulletins, and presence at major farm shows (i.e. Empire Farm Days) and reached an estimated 150 people through winter crop meetings in early 2003, while 250 people attended field days held at starter P farm sites hosted by the producer that participated in the project or at the experimental research farms. Results of the 2002 trials reached 280 people in 2003 through the Field Crops Dealer Meetings, while an estimated 100 people saw our poster display at the Steuben County Fair. The 2002 growing season results reached over 4000 people through county newsletters while an article in the Northeast Dairy Business in December of 2003 (P restraint will not shrink yields) reached a membership of 16,560 people in the Northeast Region. In February 2003, a What is Cropping Up? article appeared. The article is downloadable from our project website (http://nmsp.css.cornell.edu/projects/starterp.asp). Although we started our impact assessment, we expect most of our impact activities to take place once the results of the 2003 growing season are summarized. An on-farm research workshop was held on April 1 and 2, 2003. As a result of the workshop, participation in the project by extension educators doubled. We developed a 2-page handout, a postcard summarizing the results to date, and a poster for use in extension events. Those extension documents are available through our project website as well and have been widely distributed among participants and other extension audiences.

Impacts
At the end of this project, we expect to have achieved a reduction in P starter use in New York for corn grown on field testing high or very high in P. Outcomes in 2003 include: 1) 28 successfully completed field trials; 2) increased experimental design understanding/skills among extension educators that participated in the On-farm Research Workshop; 3) a What is Cropping Up? extension article summarizing the 2000-2002 results; 4) a postcard summarizing the results to date; 5) a project handout that was distributed at field days and through newsletter; 6) a project poster that was displayed at extension events; and 7) increased project awareness.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 08/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
Phosphorus (P) accumulation on farms has led to high soil test P levels and increased P runoff and leaching from agricultural fields in many Northeastern states. The aim of the NY Starter P Project is to reduce P fertilizer use for growing corn on fields that test high or very high in P. In addition, we aim to establish and strengthen research/extension collaboration among producers, extension, universities, agribusiness and agencies on issues of importance for the sustainability of agriculture. We proposed to achieve these goals through the establishment of on-farm trials, field days, extension meetings and documentation and by working with a collaborative network of producers, agribusiness, university faculty and staff, and regulatory agencies. In 2002, 16 on-farm demonstration trials (2 or more replicates) and 6 research trials (4 replicates) were conducted in a collaborative effort that included Nutrient Management Spear Program staff, ProDairy, Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educators, a Soil and Water Conservation District employee, research institute directors and/or staff, and farmers. Agricultural industry was involved through fertilizer and seed donations. Four treatments were implemented: a no starter; no P in the starter; 10-25 lbs of P2O5 in the starter; and greater than 25 lbs of P2O5 (40 lbs in the research trials). Results of both the research and the on-farm demonstration trials showed that no yield penalty occurs when P is left out of the starter on soils test high or very high in P.

Impacts
At the end of this project, we expect to have achieved a reduction in P starter use in New York for corn grown on field testing high or very high in P. This will contribute to a better on-farm P balance reducing the amount of P that can be lost to the environment. We also expect to increase grower and industry awareness of environmental issues related to phosphorus us on farms and increase farmer and extension educator interests in participating in on-farm research and demonstration trials.

Publications

  • Ketterings, Q.M., Byron, T., Godwin, G. and Czymmek, K.J. 2003. Phosphorus Starter Project - Results of the 2002 Growing Season. What's Cropping Up? 13(1): 4-6.