By Greg Godwin, Quirine M. Ketterings, Tom Kilcer and Karl Czymmek, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University

Introduction
New fertilizer technologies have focused on increasing N use efficiency by reducing N volatilization and leaching losses of fertilizer materials. Two such polymer based technologies are: (1) ESN (Environmentally Smart Nitrogen, developed by Agrium Inc.), and (2) NutriSphere-N (by Specialty Fertilizer Products Inc.). Research plots were established at 3 locations in 2008 and 2009 to study the impact of use of ESN or NutriSphere on nitrogen availability, yield, and quality. Two sites from 2008 are not included in this analysis. One was severely impacted by hail and insect damage and the other was not responsive to N.

Methods
Corn silage trials were located at Cornell research farms in Cayuga (2009), Essex (2008 and 2009) and Columbia (2009) counties. All sites had five treatments:
1. Starter N only;
2. Starter N + UAN at sidedress (150 lbs N/Acre);
3. Starter N + Urea at planting (150 lbs N/Acre);
4. Starter N + NutriSphere-N at planting (150 lbs N/Acre);
5. Starter N + ESN at planting (150 lbs N/Acre).

There were 4 repetitions of each treatment. Plots were 8 rows wide and 50 feet long. The urea, ESN and NutriSphere treated urea were broadcast and incorporated just prior to planting. All plots received 30 lbs N/acre in the starter. The UAN treatment was injected when the corn was between 6 and 12 inches tall. Initial soil conditions and presidedress nitrate test (PSNT) results are shown in Table 1.

Sites that required K were fertilized at planting with K2O at rates of 60 lbs/acre (Essex) and 48 lbs/acre (Cayuga). Initial ISNT values indicated all sites needed additional N to support optimal corn yields beyond what the soil could supply through soil organic matter mineralization. The PSNT values for the starter only plots confirmed extra N was needed for all sites. Silage plots were hand harvested (2 rows of 40 feet each) and sub-samples were taken to determine moisture content and silage quality.

Yield and Quality
All sites showed a yield response to N addition beyond the starter in both years (Table 2). There were, however, no significant differences among N sources or timing of application at any of the locations. On average, the yield response to extra N beyond the starter was 8.6 tons per acre. There were few differences in forage quality (Table 3). Crude protein content increased with N addition beyond the starter but there were no differences among the N sources. None of the differences in forage quality significantly impacted the overall silage quality as expressed in estimated milk per ton of silage. The increase in estimated milk per acre upon N addition was attributed to the yield response.

Conclusion
All sites were N deficient yet failed to show any significant increase in yield or improvement in forage quality from the two enhanced efficiency fertilizers. Broadcast incorporation of urea was as effective as application of ESN or NutriSphere or sidedressing of UAN. A cool dry spring in 2008 and a cold wet growing season in 2009 resulted in reduced mineralization. The potential value of these products would be better tested in a warm wet spring. Given the weather conditions and the limited number of sites, more trials are required to generate recommendations. We advise growers interested in these products to put test strips in their fields to assess their effectiveness.

For More Information
For more information on the New York State Nitrogen for Corn project and other work, see our project website: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/. For a fact sheet on enhanced efficiency N sources: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/factsheets/factsheet45.pdf.











































































Table 1: Soil management groups (SMG), soil series and general soil fertility data at planting for four N source trials in 2008 and 2009. L=low; M=medium, H=high, VH=very high, N=normal, E=excessive and PSNT (from Starter N only plots) at sidedress.



Essex


 


 


Essex


 


 


Cayuga


 


 


Columbia


 


 


2008


 


 


2009


 


 


2009


 


 


2009


 


 


Stafford fine


sandy loam


 


 


Stafford fine


sandy loam


 


 


Kendaia


fine loam


 


 


Hoosic gravelly sandy loam


 


 


SMG


 


 


4


 


 


4


 


 


2


 


 


4


 


 


pH


 


 


6.6


 


 


6.3


 


 


7.9


 


 


6.3


 


 


OM (%)


 


 


1.6 (2.7% LOI)


 


 


1.7 (2.7% LOI)


 


 


2.3 (3.7% LOI)


 


 


2.6 (4.1% LOI)


 


 


P (lbs/acre)


 


 


22 (H)


 


 


17 (H)


 


 


10.0 (H)


 


 


11 (H)


 


 


K (lbs/acre)


 


 


62 (L)


 


 


38 (L)


 


 


91 (M)


 


 


148 (H)


 


 


Mg (lbs/acre)


 


 


77 (M)


 


 


74 (M)


 


 


522 (VH)


 


 


312 (H)


 


 


Ca (lbs/acre)


 


 


1964


 


 


1920


 


 


5400


 


 


1650


 


 


ISNT (ppm)


 


 


180 (D)


 


 


166 (D)


 


 


165 (D)


 


 


155 (D)


 


 


PSNT (ppm)


 


 


8 (D)


 


 


13 (D)


 


 


0 (D)


 


 


8 (D)


 


 



























































Table 2: Silage yields for four N source trials. The UAN was side- dressed. All other N sources were applied at planting (150 lbs/N acre) and incorporated. Each plot received 30 lbs N/acre in the starter band.



Essex


 


 


Essex


 


 


Cayuga


 


 


Columbia


 


 


Average


 


 


2008


 


 


2009


 


 


2009


 


 


2009


 


 


2008/2009


 


 


Treatment


 


 


Silage Yield


 


 


(tons/acre at 65% moisture)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


18.8 b


 


 


11.3 b


 


 


15.9 b


 


 


13.8 b


 


 


14.9 b


 


 


UAN


 


 


21.6 a


 


 


20.5 a


 


 


23.3 a


 


 


22.8 a


 


 


22.0 a


 


 


Urea


 


 


23.5 a


 


 


22.0 a


 


 


25.9 a


 


 


24.7 a


 


 


24.0 a


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


24.1 a


 


 


21.9 a


 


 


23.5 a


 


 


23.8 a


 


 


23.3 a


 


 


ESN


 


 


22.6 a


 


 


23.8 a


 


 


26.5 a


 


 


25.0 a


 


 


24.5 a


 


 












































































































































































































Table 3: Impact of N source on forage quality parameters and estimated milk yield for four corn silage trials. The UAN was sidedressed. All other N sources were applied at planting (150 lbs/N/acre) and incorporated. Each plot received 30 lbs N/acre in the starter band.



Essex 2008


 


 


Essex 2009


 


 


Cayuga 2009


 


 


Columbia 2009


 


 


NDF (% of DM)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


44.1 a


 


 


47.3 a


 


 


41.9 a


 


 


41.2 a


 


 


UAN


 


 


41.7 a


 


 


45.3 a


 


 


38.8 a


 


 


38.1 b


 


 


Urea


 


 


41.5 a


 


 


46.9 a


 


 


39.2 a


 


 


38.8 ab


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


43.4 a


 


 


44.9 a


 


 


41.5 a


 


 


39.6 ab


 


 


ESN


 


 


40.4 a


 


 


44.5 a


 


 


41.7 a


 


 


39.5 ab


 


 


dNDF (% of NDF)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


64.9 a


 


 


66.0 a


 


 


70.2 a


 


 


69.0 a


 


 


UAN


 


 


64.9 a


 


 


62.8 a


 


 


69.7 a


 


 


64.8 b


 


 


Urea


 


 


62.4 b


 


 


62.1 a


 


 


66.4 b


 


 


63.9 b


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


62.4 b


 


 


62.2 a


 


 


65.6 b


 


 


64.2 b


 


 


ESN


 


 


64.3 ab


 


 


63.2 a


 


 


66.1 b


 


 


63.0 b


 


 


Starch (% of DM)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


35.1 a


 


 


29.6 a


 


 


37.2 a


 


 


37.4 a


 


 


UAN


 


 


35.1 a


 


 


31.6 a


 


 


40.1 a


 


 


40.4 a


 


 


Urea


 


 


35.7 a


 


 


31.1 a


 


 


40.5 a


 


 


39.2 a


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


33.7 a


 


 


31.3 a


 


 


37.7 a


 


 


39.0 a


 


 


ESN


 


 


36.9 a


 


 


31.4 a


 


 


37.7 a


 


 


39.6 a


 


 


Crude Protein (% of DM)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


5.2 b


 


 


5.5 b


 


 


5.0 b


 


 


5.5 b


 


 


UAN


 


 


6.6 a


 


 


7.1 a


 


 


6.9 a


 


 


6.8 a


 


 


Urea


 


 


6.3 a


 


 


6.5 ab


 


 


6.6 a


 


 


7.0 a


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


6.4 a


 


 


6.9 a


 


 


6.7 a


 


 


7.1 a


 


 


ESN


 


 


6.2 a


 


 


7.5 a


 


 


6.4 a


 


 


7.1 a


 


 


Milk per Ton (lbs/ton)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


3,305 a


 


 


3,412 a


 


 


3,269 a


 


 


3,055 a


 


 


UAN


 


 


3,374 a


 


 


3,501 a


 


 


3,238 a


 


 


2,977 a


 


 


Urea


 


 


3,322 a


 


 


3,435 a


 


 


3,208 a


 


 


2,999 a


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


3,269 a


 


 


3,334 a


 


 


3,235 a


 


 


2,983 a


 


 


ESN


 


 


3,400 a


 


 


3,327 a


 


 


3,291 a


 


 


2,997 a


 


 


Milk per Acre (lbs/acre)


 


 


Starter Only


 


 


21,692 b


 


 


19,014 b


 


 


12,913 b


 


 


14,597 b


 


 


UAN


 


 


25,526 ab


 


 


28,600 a


 


 


23,151 a


 


 


23,742 a


 


 


Urea


 


 


27,352 a


 


 


31,119 a


 


 


24,701 a


 


 


25,901 a


 


 


NutriSphere


 


 


27,518 a


 


 


27,425 a


 


 


24,729 a


 


 


24,898 a


 


 


ESN


 


 


26,959 a


 


 


30,861 a


 


 


27,404 a


 


 


26,190 a