TSM Research Farm at Catlin, Illinois, USA     August 2002 Newsletter

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Nutrient Uptakes by Corn

By Randy Simonson, Technical Services Manager


An average corn crop will use 240 lbs of nitrogen/acre, 100 lbs of phosphorus/acre and 240 lbs of potassium/acre through the crop season.  The amount and percent the corn uses varies with different times during its growth.

The corn crop actually uses a higher amount and percentage of nitrogen and potassium during the seedling stage than it uses phosphorus.  Yet we use starters with a high concentration of phosphorus in them.  This is because phosphorus is less available when soils are cold and wet.  Interestingly, recent research in the northeast on soils with high phosphorus levels has shown more benefits using a starter without phosphorus but with nitrogen, potassium and sulfur.  But remember, this is on high phosphorus soils.

The greatest percentage of potassium is used during the rapid growth stage whereas most nitrogen and phosphorus are used during silking.  Nutrient requirements progressively decrease after silking.


Nutrient Uptakes by Corn at Different Growth Stages (lbs./acre)

Seedling Rapid GrowthSilkingGrain FillMaturityTotal
Days1-2526-5051-75 76-100101-125
Nitrogen1984 75 4814 240
Phosphorus 42736258100
Potassium22 104 7236 6240



Nutrient Uptakes by Corn at Different Growth Stages (Percent)

Seedling Rapid GrowthSilkingGrain FillMaturityTotal
Days1-2526-5051-75 76-100101-125
Nitrogen83131206100
Phoshorus42736 258100
Potassium 9 43 30153100



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© 2002 TSM® Services, Inc.