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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Nitrogen Management

Fertilization and Nitrogen Balance in a Wheat–Maize Rotation System in North China


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 4, p. 938-945
    Received: May 23, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): chenxp@cau.edu.cn
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  1. Rong-Fang Zhaoa,
  2. Xin-Ping Chen *a,
  3. Fu-Suo Zhanga,
  4. Hailin Zhangb,
  5. Jackie Schroderb and
  6. Volker Römheldc
  1. a Dep. of Plant Nutrition, China Agricultural Univ., Beijing, 100094, P. R. China
    b Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
    c Institute of Plant Nutrition, Univ. of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany


Over N fertilization is a common problem for the winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)–summer maize (Zea mays L.) rotation system in the North China Plain. A field experiment which included control (no N), conventional N (Con. N) fertilization, and optimized N (Nmin) fertilization treatments, was conducted from 1999 to 2003 near Beijing, China. Soil nitrate (NO3) dynamics were measured and N balance was calculated for the period of the eight successive cropping seasons. Soil NO3–N in the 0- to 90-cm profile for the Con. N treatment ranged from 157 to 700 kg ha−1 during the eight successive cropping seasons, much greater than those in the no N and optimized N treatments. Large amounts of soil NO3–N were detected in the 90- to 200-cm layer under the conventional N fertilization treatment, especially in the summer maize season. For the Nmin treatment, the total amount of N applied was 511 kg N ha−1 in the eight successive crops as compared with 2400 kg N ha−1 of the Con. N treatment. Grain yields were not different between the fertilized treatments except for maize in 2003. Soil NO3–N in the root zone under conditions of optimized N fertilization was maintained at a relatively low level as compared with the Con. N treatment, therefore dramatically decreasing NO3–N movement to deeper soil profile. This study indicates that soil NO3 movement out of the effective crop root zone is an important pathway of N losses in this winter wheat–summer maize rotation system in the North China Plain and the optimized N fertilization by an improved Nmin method shows high potential of reducing N-leaching losses.

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