Studies Show Corn Takes Majority of Nitrogen from Soil, Not Fertilizer

A series of four studies published by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign showed that corn takes about 67% of its nitrogen from the soil, not from fertilizer. This held true over numerous different application timings and methods tested in the studies. “If the soil is the main source of nitrogen for crop uptake, which it almost always will be, we need to take the soil into account. It’s just that simple. Otherwise, with factors like timing, rate, placement, and form, we’re tweaking, but probably won’t find a miraculous increase in efficiency using those approaches,” study co-author Richard Mulvaney said.
Related ATTRA resource: Toolkit: How to Reduce Synthetic Fertilizer Use