MEERM Internship Qualifying / Comprehensive Exam - Renada DavisWednesday, October 11, 2017 - 2:00pm
Title: Effective Potassium in Coastal Plain Soils Studied across a Wheat, Soybean, Corn Rotation
Soil tests have been the basis for fertilizer recommendations since the mid 1900's when extensive research was conducted to calibrate test results with proper amounts of fertilizer for optimum yield results. Since then, recalibration research has steadily declined, leaving producers to use result interpretations and fertilizer recommendations that may be unproven and not correlate with today's farm management practices. In a day and age when there is pressure put on producers to lower fertilizer use, for both economic and environmental reasons, the efficiency of current fertilizer recommendations are called into question. The focus of this research is to test the efficiency of potassium, an essential nutrient in crop production, recommendations on wheat, soybean, and corn. Due to the essential roles potassium plays in plant production, it is believed to increase the quality and yield of produce. Fertilizer recommendations are made even when soil tests results show sufficient amounts to ensure crop quality and optimum yield while also accounting for estimated crop removal of potassium. Previous literature suggests that current recommendation philosophies used may not produce higher yields or better quality in produce unless crops are grown in sandy or degraded soils or soils with low potassium supplying power. Case studies done of short-term field trials have even shown a reduction of produce quality and yield due to nutrient dilution within the produce and potential toxicity. The research was conducted to examine the effect fertilization levels had on crop yield and plant and soil nutrient levels. This projects goal is to provide valuable information regarding the efficacy of current fertilizer recommendations for wheat, soybean, and corn production on coastal plain soils and its effect on soil nutrient levels over an extended period of time. It may also provide valuable information to producers of the region currently using the recommendations for future management practice decisions.