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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 91 No. 3, p. 357-363
    Received: Sept 30, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): bill.raun@okstate.edu
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Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency for Cereal Production

  1. William R. Raun  and
  2. Gordon V. Johnson
  1. Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078



Worldwide, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for cereal production (wheat, Triticum aestivum L.; corn, Zea mays L.; rice, Oryza sativa L. and O. glaberrima Steud.; barley, Hordeum vulgare L.; sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench; millet, Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.; oat, Avena sativa L.; and rye, Secale cereale L.) is approximately 33%. The unaccounted 67% represents a $15.9 billion annual loss of N fertilizer (assuming fertilizer-soil equilibrium). Loss of fertilizer N results from gaseous plant emission, soil denitrification, surface runoff, volatilization, and leaching. Increased cereal NUE is unlikely, unless a systems approach is implemented that uses varieties with high harvest index, incorporated NH4-N fertilizer, application of prescribed rates consistent with in-field variability using sensor-based systems within production fields, low N rates applied at flowering, and forage production systems. Furthermore, increased cereal NUE must accompany increased yields needed to feed a growing world population that has yet to benefit from the promise of N2-fixing cereal crops. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) linked with advanced research programs at universities and research institutes is uniquely positioned to refine fertilizer N use in the world via the extension of improved NUE hybrids and cultivars and management practices in both the developed and developing world.

Contribution from the Okla. Agric. Exp. Stn.

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