Nutrient Balance

Soil Fertility Considerations

Farmers manage soil fertility for their crops to maintain economically optimal returns on fertilizer investment.  Removal of corn stover will not require new fertilizer management tactics but rather tweaking of existing fertility programs. Phosphorus and potassium removal must now account for nutrients removed not only from the grain but also the stover. Recent research indicates that nitrogen application rates for corn following corn with stover harvest may be reduced slightly due to less nitrogen being used in the decomposition of the remaining corn residue. The amount of nitrogen fertilization rate reduction depends on the stover harvest level. Phosphorus and potassium fertilization rates should still be based on both soil test levels and crop (grain and stover) nutrient removal rates.

Publication PM 3052C - Nutrient Considerations with Corn Stover Harvest and Publication PM 3051K - Nutrient Removal from Corn Stover Harvesting discuss in greater detail the amounts of phosphorus and potassium removed with corn stover and also compares differences in plant nutrient contents at physiological maturity versus at the time of stover harvest.