Damage to the primary root in response to cattle slurry placed near seed may compromise early growth of corn

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Placement of cattle slurry below the row could potentially replace mineral phosphorus (P) starter fertilizer in corn (Zea mays) production, but a concentrated slurry layer near the seed may also restrict root growth. This study was designed to assess how the distance between seed and layer-banded slurry affected initial growth of corn. In a pot experiment with corn on a coarse sandy soil, nitrogen-labeled (15N) cattle slurry was placed 1.5, 5, 8.5, or 12 cm below the seed, and responses on early root growth, shoot biomass, and nutrient uptake were studied. Soil chemical properties near the slurry band were determined in unplanted soil. Placement of slurry 1.5 cm below the seed damaged the primary root, which subsequently reduced shoot biomass and N uptake. Shoot P uptake remained unaffected by slurry placement depth. The 15N assay revealed that plants were able to take up N from the slurry band despite damage to the primary root. The shoot biomass was higher in the inorganic N and P treatment than in the slurry treatments. Within a few centimeters above the slurry band, the soil was characterized by high moisture and high concentrations of ammonium and nitrite 21 and 35 d after slurry application, which may have caused the damages of the primary root. We conclude that placement of slurry near the seed can damage the primary root of corn. To prevent root injuries, banded slurry should be placed at least 5 cm below the seed.

TidsskriftAgronomy Journal
Sider (fra-til)1346-1359
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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