Reducing Phosphorus Use for Sweet Corn Grown on Calcareous Gravelly Soils

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  • 1 1University of Florida IFAS, Miami–Dade County Extension Service, Homestead, FL, 33030
  • | 2 2University of Florida IFAS, Soil and Water Science, Homestead, FL; 33031
  • | 3 3University of Florida IFAS, Horticultural Sciences, Gainesville, FL

Sweet corn (Zea mays) is a major cash crop produced on calcareous soils in Miami–Dade County. Applications of large amounts of phosphorus (P) fertilizer for many years resulted in the accumulation of high levels of P in these soils. Accumulated P is slowly released into the soil solution to become available for plant roots. Previous studies conducted in this area showed little or no yield and crop quality response to P fertilizer applications. Large-scale field trials with reduced P applications were conducted in a grower's field. The treatments were: 1) no P; 2) 50% grower's rate; and 3) 100% grower's rate with six repilications. The data collected included: plant stand, height, nutrient concentrations in leaf tissue, leaf chlorophyll, tip fill, number, and weight of marketable ears/acre. Reduced rates of P fertilizer did not significantly reduce yield and quality of sweet corn.

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