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Agronomy Journal : Just Published


Accepted, edited articles are published here after author proofing to provide rapid publication and better access to the newest research. Articles are compiled into issues at dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/aj, which includes the complete archive.

Citation | Articles posted here are considered published and may be cited by the doi.

Zhu, Q., M.J. Schlossberg, R.B. Bryant, and J.P. Schmidt. 2012. Creeping bentgrass putting green response to foliar nitrogen fertilization. Agron. J. doi:10.2134/agronj2012.0157

Current issue: Agron. J. 108(3)


    • Silvestro Meseka, Abebe Menkir, Samuel Olakojo, Alpha Jalloh, Ntji Coulibaly and Olubunmi Bossey
      Yield Stability of Yellow Maize Hybrids in the Savannas of West Africa

      There is growing interest for yellow maize among farmers and the food and feed industries in West Africa. Testing of maize hybrids in multi-location trials is crucial for identifying adapted high-yielding candidates for quick release. This study was designed to evaluate yield stability of three-way cross yellow maize hybrids across 17 diverse environments in the savannas of West Africa. Highly significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed among hybrids across locations. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • There is growing interest for yellow maize among farmers, food, and feed industries.
      • Testing maize hybrids in several locations is crucial for identifying best candidates.
      • Highly significant differences were observed among the hybrids across 17 locations.
      • Three hybrids were relatively stable across locations compared with a commercial hybrid.
      • These will benefit producers with limited capacity to handle single-cross hybrids.

      Published: May 20, 2016


    • T. Kelly Turkington, Brian L. Beres, H. Randy Kutcher, Byron Irvine, Eric N. Johnson, John T. O’Donovan, K. Neil Harker, Christopher B. Holzapfel, Ramona Mohr, Gary Peng and F. Craig Stevenson
      Winter Wheat Yields Are Increased by Seed Treatment and Fall-Applied Fungicide

      Poor stand establishment resulting in lower yield is a major constraint to expanding winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) land area across the semiarid temperate regions of the northern Great Plains. We conducted a direct-seeded study at nine sites across western Canada totaling 26 environments (site-years) over three growing seasons (2011–2013) to observe the responses of the winter wheat cultivar CDC Buteo to five levels of seed treatment (i) Check–no seed treatment, (ii) tebuconozole [(RS)- 1-(4-Chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-3-(1H, 1,2,4-triazol-1-ylmethyl)pentan- 3-ol], (iii) metalxyl {2-[(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-(2-methoxy-1-oxoethyl) amino} propanoic acid methyl ester], (iv) imidacloprid (N-{1-[(6-Chloro-3-pyridyl)methyl]-4,5-dihydroimidazol-2-yl}nitramide), and (v) dual fungicide/insecticidal seed treatment: tebuconozole, + metalxyl + imidacloprid; and two levels of fall-applied fungicide (i) Check–no application or (ii) foliar-applied prothioconazole {2-[2-(1-chlorocyclopropyl)-3-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-hydroxypropyl]-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-thione} performed in mid-October. The check and the fungicide seed treatment, metalaxyl, produced similarly low grain yield resulting in lower net returns, whereas the dual fungicide/insecticide seed treatment provided the highest yield and net returns (CAN+$13 ha–1). Fall-applied fungicide improved yield (0.06 Mg ha–1), but decreased net returns (–$12 ha–1). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Seed treatment increases winter wheat yield.
      • Fall-applied fungicide increases winter wheat yield.
      • Seed treatment increases winter wheat net returns.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Josefina L. De Paepe and Roberto Álvarez
      Wheat Yield Gap in the Pampas: Modeling the Impact of Environmental Factors

      As global grain demand is expected to keep on rising, productive but underachieving regions like the Argentine Pampas play a key role. Reduction of yield gaps in these regions would allow an increase in global food production. The objectives were to model the spatial patterns of the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yield gap in the Pampas and relate it to environmental factors. The study comprised an area of approximately 45 Mha during a 40-yr interval. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Yield gap calculation combined two modeled yield levels, applying a frontier production function and an artificial neural network.
      • Climate partially defined yield gaps; in semiarid environments these were largest.
      • Soil properties explained 50% of yield gap variability at regional scale.
      • Soil organic carbon and available water holding capacity interacted positively defining a minimum yield gap.
      • Yield gap reducing efforts should be focused in low productivity soils.

      Published: May 6, 2016


    • Ahmed Attia, Nithya Rajan, Shyam S. Nair, Paul B. DeLaune, Qingwu Xue, Amir M. H. Ibrahim and Dirk B. Hays
      Modeling Cotton Lint Yield and Water Use Efficiency Responses to Irrigation Scheduling Using Cotton2K

      Decreasing groundwater supplies and increasing variability in weather challenge profitable cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production in the Texas Rolling Plains. A modeling study was conducted using the Cotton2K model using weather data from 1980 to 2010 (31 yr) from the Texas Rolling Plains. Our objective was to study cotton yield, water use efficiency (WUE), and economic returns responses to irrigation, which included a combination of six evapotranspiration (ET) replacement levels (40, 60, 80, 100, 120, and 140% ET) and four irrigation durations (4, 6, 8, and 10 wk). The model was initially calibrated and validated using field data. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Crop models can be used for agronomic and economic assessments.
      • Cotton2K can be used to simulate the yield of cotton in semi-arid regions.
      • 85% ET replacement is a promising deficit irrigation strategy for the Texas Rolling Plains.

      Published: May 20, 2016


    • J. S. Oliveira, H. E. Brown, A. Gash and D. J. Moot
      An Explanation of Yield Differences in Three Potato Cultivars

      Under ideal growing conditions, yield is the product of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PARi) and its conversion efficiency to dry matter (radiation use efficiency, RUE). For potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) the ability of the leaf to convert the PARi into carbohydrates (source) and the storage capacity of the tubers (sink) affect the potential growth of individual tubers and therefore crop yield. This study describes these mechanisms for three commercial potato cultivars (Bondi, Fraser, and Russet Burbank) grown in non-limiting field conditions. At final harvest Bondi had the largest tuber yield and produced heavier but fewer tubers compared with Fraser and Russet Burbank. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • The tuber yield of three potato cultivars was compared.
      • Yield differences were not determined by total intercepted radiation.
      • Low tuber sink strength and a low radiation use efficiency were detrimental to tuber yield.
      • Leaf photosynthesis down regulation was linked to specific leaf area and canopy longevity.
      • Final stolon length was the first vegetative signal of tuber sink strength during plant growth.

      Published: May 20, 2016

    • Timothy L. Grey, William D. Branch, R. Scott Tubbs, John L. Snider, Theodore M. Webster, Jason Arnold and Xiao Li
      The Impact of Genotype × Environment Effects on Runner-Type Peanut Seed Vigor Response to Temperature

      Experiments conducted from 2007 to 2012 evaluated the genotype × environment effects on breeder seed of eight peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) cultivars grown under similar production practices. Seed germination and vigor by plot replication were evaluated in Petri-dishes incubated over a thermal gradient ranging from 12 to 36°C at approximately 1.0°C increments. Growing degree day (GDD) accumulation for each temperature increment was calculated based on daily mean temperature measured by thermocouples. Lorentzian distribution models were used to establish the temperature and time (hours) to maximum germination. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Peanut cultivars evaluated exhibited phenotypic vigor variation by year, with genotypic stability across years.
      • This form of evaluation provided an indication of vigor which may assist breeders in determining the success of the cultivar over a range of temperatures.
      • Larger seeded peanut cultivars exhibited less vigor than smaller seeded cultivars.

      Published: May 13, 2016

    • Ganghua Li, Jun Zhang, Congdang Yang, Zhenghui Liu, Shaohua Wang and Yanfeng Ding
      Population Characteristics of High-Yielding Rice under Different Densities

      To explore the common characteristics of high-yield rice (Oryza sativa L.) production and the influence of transplanting density on yield, field experiments were conducted in eight ecological zones with local popular high-yield rice varieties in China in 2009. This study revealed that different ecological types of rice exhibit robust differences in growth stage, yield composition, source, sink, grain/leaf ratio, plant type traits, and dry matter (DM) accumulation and partitioning. The different ecological types of rice displayed the following common features: (i) grain yield was correlated with sink such that larger sink was always associated with larger yield; (ii) DM accumulation before and after the heading stage showed large variation in contribution to yield regardless of DM accumulation enhancement, especially for postheading accumulation, which was beneficial for increasing yield; and (iii) under the suitable seedling population (36 seedlings m–2 or 25 seedlings m–2), wide rows with narrow within-row plant spacing was conducive for building high-yield populations. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Yield was closely correlated with sink such that larger sink was always associated with higher yield.
      • The dry matter accumulation before and after the heading stage had enormous variation in contribution to yield regardless of the dry matter accumulation enhancement, especially the yield of postheading accumulation, which was beneficial for increasing yield.
      • Under the suitable seedling population, wide rows and narrow within-row plant spacing was conducive for building high-yield populations to improve the yield.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Alencar Junior Zanon, Nereu Augusto Streck and Patricio Grassini
      Climate and Management Factors Influence Soybean Yield Potential in a Subtropical Environment

      The interactive influence of climate and management factors on soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] yield potential has not been investigated in subtropical production environments. Such information can help fine tune current soybean management practices to increase yield and resource-use efficiency and to minimize risk. The objective of this study was to identify key biophysical and management factors governing variation in soybean yield potential in southern Brazil. To accomplish that objective, we used a large database on soybean yield and phenology collected from a combination of on-farm and research-station experiments conducted during four crop growing seasons (2011–2015) in Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Water supply and photothermal quotient explained most yield variation across site-years.
      • A seasonal water supply of ∼800 mm appeared sufficient to maximize seed yield.
      • Sowing delay after 4 Nov. decreased yield potential by 26 kg ha−1 d–1.

      Published: May 6, 2016


    • William Anderson, Myron B. Parker, Joseph Edward Knoll and R. Curt Lacy
      Fertilization Ratios of N–P 2 O 5 –K 2 O for Tifton 85 Bermudagrass on Two Coastal Plain Soils

      Bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] is widely grown throughout the southeastern United States and many other countries for forage. Tifton 85, a hybrid between C. dactylon and C. nlemfuensis, is currently the recommended cultivar for grazing and hay. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Split plot design with N, P, K rates on Tifton 85 bermudagrass show yields level off at 560 kg ha–1.
      • Rates of 224 to 336 kg ha–1 N and 100% replacement of P K had maximum rate of economic return.
      • Recommended ratio of fertilizer is N–P2O5–K2O ratio for fertilization of Tifton 85 should be approximately 3–1–4 at the lowest rate and 4–1–5 at the higher rate.
      • Protein and in-vitro dry matter digestibility of forage increased with higher N application.

      Published: May 13, 2016

    • Aaron J. Sindelar, Marty R. Schmer, Virginia L. Jin, Brian J. Wienhold and Gary E. Varvel
      Crop Rotation Affects Corn, Grain Sorghum, and Soybean Yields and Nitrogen Recovery

      Long-term cropping system and fertilizer N studies are essential to understanding production potential and yield stability of corn (Zea mays L.), grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] in rain-fed environments. A no-till experiment (2007–2013) was conducted in eastern Nebraska to evaluate crop rotation (continuous corn, continuous grain sorghum, continuous soybean, corn–soybean, grain sorghum–soybean, corn–soybean–grain sorghum–oat [Avena sativa (L.)]/clover mixture [80% Melilotus officinalis Lam. + 20% Trifolium pretense L.], and corn–oat/clover–grain sorghum–soybean) and fertilizer N (corn and grain sorghum: 0, 90, 180 kg N ha–1; soybean and oat/clover: 0, 36, 67 kg N ha–1) on grain yield, plant N uptake, and N recovery efficiency. Diversified crop rotations increased corn and grain sorghum yields and improved yield stability. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Diversified 2- and 4-yr crop rotations increased corn and grain sorghum yields.
      • Corn and grain sorghum grain yields in 2- and 4-yr rotations were more resilient to variable growing conditions.
      • Soybean was less sensitive than corn and grain sorghum to crop rotation.

      Published: May 13, 2016

    • Yantai Gan, S. P. Mooleki, Reynald L. Lemke, Robert P. Zentner and Yuefeng Ruan
      Durum Wheat Productivity in Response to Soil Water and Soil Residual Nitrogen Associated with Previous Crop Management

      Green manure may have potential uses in dryland agroecosystems. This study determined the effect of green manure on residual soil water and soil N and the subsequent durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) performance in comparison with the effect of preceding dry pea (Pisum sativum L.), silage pea (Pisum sativum L.), and spring wheat (T. aestivum L.). Three green manures [black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), chickling vetch (Lathyrus sativus L.), and forage pea (Pisum sativum L.)] were grown in 2006, 2007, and 2008, along with pea, wheat, and a summerfallow (check) in Saskatchewan, Canada. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Green manures conserve a similar amount of water in the 0- to 1.2-m soil profile as summerfallow.
      • Green manures provides less N benefits as summerfallow to the crops the following year.
      • Durum wheat after green manures yielded 19 to 54% more than the other preceding crops.
      • Delay planting of green manures offers water-saving advantages in dry environments.

      Published: May 13, 2016

    • S. Hajighasemi, R. Keshavarz-Afshar and M. R. Chaichi
      Nitrogen Fertilizer and Seeding Rate Influence on Grain and Forage Yield of Dual-Purpose Barley

      Clipping fall-sown cereals provides a good source of high-quality forage during late winter. Farmers usually use more inputs, including fertilizers and seed, in dual-purpose systems compared with grain-only systems. A 2-yr field study was conducted in Karaj, Iran, to evaluate the effects of nitrogen (N) rates (0, 50, 100, 150 kg N ha−1) and seeding rates (400, 600, 800 seed m−2) on forage and grain yields of two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars (Fasih and CB 744) in grain-only and dual-purpose systems. Fasih and CB 744 grain yields in the grain-only system were 2996 and 3250 kg ha−1, respectively (averaged over experimental treatments). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Dual-purpose barley yielded 25% less grain than that in grain-only system.
      • Despite a lower grain yield, economic return of dual-purpose barley was considerably greater.
      • In both production systems, 600 seed m–2 and 100 kg N ha–1 were optimum for grain and forage production.
      • No additional N and seed are required for dual-purpose barley than those usually used in grain-only system.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Amanda J. Ashworth, Fred L. Allen, Arnold M. Saxton and Donald D. Tyler
      Long-Term Corn Yield Impacted by Cropping Rotations and Bio-Covers under No-Tillage

      Cropping diversity and bio-covers are perceived as integral components of conservation tillage because of increased pest control and soil organic matter. Consequently, effects of cropping sequences and bio-covers on corn (Zea mays L.) yields were assessed. Main effects were 10 cropping sequences of corn, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), and soybean (Glycine max L.) on a Loring silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, thermic Oxyaquic Fragiudalf) at the Research and Education Center (REC) at Milan, and seven cropping sequences of corn and soybean at the Middle Tennessee REC on a Maury silt loam (fine, mixed, active, mesic Typic Paleudalf). Sequences were repeated in 4-yr cycles (i.e., Phases I, II, and III) from 2002 to 2013. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Increasing cropping sequence diversity promotes greater yields when two species are included in a rotation compared to continuous corn.
      • Including soybean and cotton twice increased yields by 6 and 7%, respectively.
      • Bio-covers, particularly poultry litter and hairy vetch, increased corn yields compared to wheat cover crops.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • David W. McIntosh, Gary E. Bates, Patrick D. Keyser, Fred L. Allen, Craig A. Harper, John C. Waller, Jessie L. Birckhead and William M. Backus
      Forage Harvest Timing Impact on Biomass Quality from Native Warm-Season Grass Mixtures

      Biomass production systems using native warm-season grasses can allow for an early-season harvest (for forage) followed by a dormant harvest (for biomass). A study was conducted to investigate the impact of harvest timing and grass species on the chemical composition of harvested forage and biomass. The three-species composite treatments were switchgrass (SG) (Panicum virgatum L.); a two-way blend of big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii V.) (BB) and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans L.) (IG); and a three-way mixture of SG, BB, and IG. Harvest treatments were a biomass harvest (BH) in late fall, early-boot (EB) harvest (for forage) followed by BH, or early-seedhead harvest (ESH) (for forage) followed by BH. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Use mixed species native warm-season grasses for forage/biomass production.
      • Provide nutritional and quality data on switchgrass and mixed species stands for forage and ethanol production.
      • It is possible to alter forage nutritive values/biomass quality with the addition of other grasses with switchgrass.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • William J. Cox and Jerome Henry Cherney
      Inconsistent Yield Responses Add Complexity to Identifying Optimum Soybean Seeding Depths

      Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] seeding depth from 2.54 to 3.81 cm is considered optimum in northern rainfed regions, despite limited recent field research. We evaluated four seeding depths (2.54, 3.81, 5.08, and 6.35 cm) in three separate field-scale studies (2013 and 2014) in New York to identify optimum depth(s) on well-drained silt loam, somewhat poorly drained silty clay/silt loam, and somewhat excessively drained gravelly loam sites. Quadratic regression equations predicted minimum yield (4.49 Mg ha–1) at 4.71 cm in 2013 but maximum yield (4.22 Mg ha–1) at 4.85 cm in 2014 on the silt loam. Soybean populations showed negative linear responses to seeding depth at the other two sites in both years, but yield did not respond to seeding depth on the silty clay/silt loam, and showed a positive quadratic response (maximum yield of 4.21 Mg ha–1 at 4.55 cm in 2013) on the gravelly loam. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Soybean seeding depth from 2.54 to 3.81 cm is considered optimum in northern rainfed regions.
      • Soybean yield showed site-specific yield responses to seeding depth.
      • Site-specific yield responses underscore the complexity in identifying an optimum soybean seeding depth.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • Lawton Nalley, Jesse Tack, Andrew Barkley, Krishna Jagadish and Kristofor Brye
      Quantifying the Agronomic and Economic Performance of Hybrid and Conventional Rice Varieties

      The objective of this research is to estimate and compare the agronomic and economic performance of hybrid and conventional rice (Oryza sativa L.) varieties in the Mid-South of the United States. The introduction of hybrid rice for commercial production has given producers an alternative to traditionally cultivated, conventional (inbred) lines. Adoption rates of hybrid rice have grown to over 40% in some regions of the Mid-South; however, its milling quality is a concern. Producer revenues are based on both rough (paddy) rice yield and postharvest processing, or milling. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Rice producers’ revenue is based on both rough rice yield and the subsequent milling outcome.
      • Early hybrid lines had high paddy but low milling yields which questioned their economic status.
      • We find that hybrids had a distinct paddy yield advantage over inbred lines.
      • We find hybrids had a lower milling quality than inbred lines but exceed industry standards.
      • We find hybrids outperform inbred varieties in absolute, profit ha–1 and relative profit margin.

      Published: May 2, 2016


    • Krishna P. Woli, Matthew J. Boyer, Roger W. Elmore, John E. Sawyer, Lori J. Abendroth and Daniel W. Barker
      Corn Era Hybrid Response to Nitrogen Fertilization

      Published: May 13, 2016
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    • Elisabeth A. Hodgdon, Nicholas D. Warren, Richard G. Smith and Rebecca G. Sideman
      In-Season and Carry-Over Effects of Cover Crops on Productivity and Weed Suppression

      Data necessary to evaluate cover crop multifunctionality are lacking, particularly for cool, short-season cropping niches typical of northern New England. We quantified cover crop biomass, weed suppression, and carry-over effects on subsequent crop and weed growth in 12 winter cover crop treatments {monocrops and mixtures of annual ryegrass [Lolium multiflorum Lam.], winter rye [Secale cereale L.], alfalfa [Medicago sativa L.], crimson clover [Trifolium incarnatum L.], white clover [T. repens L.], hairy vetch [Vicia villosa Roth], soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and forage radish [Raphanus sativus L.], and a weedy fallow [control] treatment}. The forage radish treatments (11 and 28 kg ha–1 seeding rates) were among the highest producers of fall cover crop biomass in all 4 site-years. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Cover crops differ in their ability to provide multiple ecosystem services.
      • This study quantified weed suppression services in 12 cover crop treatments.
      • Weed suppression in fall, spring, and a subsequent phytometer differed among the treatments.
      • Phytometer biomass was higher following forage radish and several legume cover crops compared to annual ryegrass.
      • Cover crop multi-functionality and tradeoffs were assessed with spider plots.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Weiqi Wang, Qingwen Min, Jordi Sardans, Chun Wang, Dolores Asensio, Mireia Bartrons and Josep Peñuelas
      Organic Cultivation of Jasmine and Tea Increases Carbon Sequestration by Changing Plant and Soil Stoichiometry

      Organic cultivation methods would be a good alternative to conventional cultivation, avoiding the use of industrial fertilizer and reducing the risk of eutrophication, but its impacts on soil elemental composition and stoichiometry warrants to be clearly stated. This study was conducted to determine the effects of long-term organic cultivation on soil elemental composition, stoichiometry, and C storing capacity and CO2 emissions in the plant-soil systems of jasmine (Jasminum spp.) and tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) Ktze.] plantations in Fujian and other regions in China. We examined the impact of organic cultivation on the concentrations, contents and stoichiometric relationships among C, N, P, and K. Organic cultivation was associated with lower plant N and P concentrations, and P mineralomasses and with higher total plant C/N, C/P, C/K, and N/P ratios and higher soil N and P concentrations and contents at some depths. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Jasmine and tea cultivation have a long history in Fujian and other regions in China
      • We explored their organic cultivation for the future viability of these crops
      • Organic cultivation increased nutrient-use efficiency
      • Soil was able to accumulate more C under organic cultivation
      • Organic cultivation improved soil fertility without affecting economic profits

      Published: April 22, 2016


    • Wilfrand Ferney Bejarano Herrera, Marcos Rodrigues, Ana Paula Bettoni Teles, Gabriel Barth and Paulo Sergio Pavinato
      Crop Yields and Soil Phosphorus Lability under Soluble and Humic-Complexed Phosphate Fertilizers

      Phosphorus is one of the most limiting nutrients for plants in weathered tropical soils. To overcome this constraint, the use of humic-complexed phosphate fertilizer may be considered as one alternative, which would reduce P fixation and increase its bioavailability. This study aimed to determine the crop yield response and soil P lability changes after five crop cycles under humic-complexed and non-humic-complexed superphosphate cumulative applications. The field experiment was conducted for 4 yr (2010–2013) in Tibagi, Brazil, in a Typic Hapludox, arranged in a randomized block design with two P sources; single superphosphate (SSP) and complexed single superphosphate (CSSP); and five cumulative dosages (0, 48, 96, 144, and 192 kg P ha–1), divided over five consecutive crops: maize (Zea mays L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], white oat (Avena sativa L.), and soybean. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Phosphate fertilizers efficiency in cropping system.
      • Residual effects of phosphate sources in tropical weathered soils.
      • Organic complexed fertilizers can be more efficient in plant P supply.
      • Soil labile P is affected by clay content and its adsorption capacity.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Wenkui Zheng, Changling Sui, Zhiguang Liu, Jibiao Geng, Xiaofei Tian, Xiuyi Yang, Chengliang Li and Min Zhang
      Long-Term Effects of Controlled-Release Urea on Crop Yields and Soil Fertility under Wheat–Corn Double Cropping Systems

      The long-term effects of controlled-release urea (CRU) on crop yields and soil properties were investigated in lysimeters under wheat and corn rotation system from 2009 to 2014 in northern China. The CRU included polymer-coated urea (PCU), sulfur-coated urea (SCU), and polymer coating of sulfur-coated urea (PSCU) was applied at 147, 210 kg N ha–1 for wheat and 262.5, 375 kg N ha–1 for corn and the urea was applied at 210 kg N ha–1 for wheat and 375 kg N ha–1 for corn. Results showed that the N release characteristics of three kinds of CRU in field condition were all closely matched to the N requirement of crops. Consequently, the CRU treatments improved wheat and corn yields by 3.2 to 10.1% and 4.9 to 11.1%, increased apparent N use efficiency by 45.9 to 53.8% in wheat, and 36.2 to 45.4% in corn, respectively, compared with urea. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • The long-term effect of controlled-release urea on crop yield and soil chemical properties was studied.
      • The N release rates of controlled-release urea were closely matched to the demand for N during the whole growth periods of crops.
      • The wheat and corn yields were increased by 3.2 to 10.1% and 4.9 to 11.1% by controlled-release urea fertilization, compared with urea treatment.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • Guozhong Feng, Yongjie Zhang, Yanling Chen, Qian Li, Fanjun Chen, Qiang Gao and Guohua Mi
      Effects of Nitrogen Application on Root Length and Grain Yield of Rain-Fed Maize under Different Soil Types

      The effect of fertilizer N on maize (Zea mays L.) root size has been reported with inconsistency. It remains unclear whether a quantitative relationship exists between soil NO3–N and root growth under field conditions. A 3-yr field experiment was conducted in three soils (loamy clay, clay loam, and sandy loam) with five N treatments (from 0–312 kg N ha–1). Soil NO3–N concentration and total root length were determined to a depth of 60 cm at the silking stage. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Plants grown in clay loam soil had larger root than in loamy clay and sandy loam soils.
      • A parabolic relationship between soil nitrate-N concentration and total root length.
      • A weak parabola relationship between N supply and root length was found in loamy clay soil and clay loam soil, but not in sandy loam soil. Root length and the maximum yield reached synchronously at optimum N rates (168–240 kg N ha–1 in the present study).

      Published: April 22, 2016


    • Jibiao Geng, Jianqiu Chen, Yunbao Sun, Wenkui Zheng, Xiaofei Tian, Yuechao Yang, Chengliang Li and Min Zhang
      Controlled Release Urea Improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Yield of Wheat and Corn

      Nitrogen fertilizer is important for improving wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.) yields, but inappropriate application methods and excessive amounts lead to low N use efficiency and high N losses through leaching. To investigate the effects of controlled-release urea (CRU) on crop yield and soil fertility, a field experiment was conducted from 2012 to 2014 in China. The 100% (180 kg ha–1) and 70% (126 kg ha–1) of the local practice N rates with CRU and urea were used. The results revealed that the release curves of CRU in the natural field corresponded well to the N requirements of wheat and corn plants, and a positive linear correlation was observed between release rates and days after buried in soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Nitrogen release rates of controlled-release urea in field condition corresponded well to the N uptake of crop plants.
      • A 30% decrease in the application rate of N is possible with controlled-release urea compared to urea.
      • The application of controlled-release urea increased crop yield, N use efficiency, net farm profit, and soil fertility.

      Published: May 6, 2016


    • Patrick Trail, Ozzie Abaye, Wade E. Thomason, Thomas L. Thompson, Fatou Gueye, Ibrahima Diedhiou, Michel B. Diatta and Abdoulaye Faye
      Evaluating Intercropping (Living Cover) and Mulching (Desiccated Cover) Practices for Increasing Millet Yields in Senegal

      Located within the Sahel region, Senegal faces several agricultural production challenges. Limited rainfall, poor soil fertility, and insufficient agronomic inputs all contribute to low pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] yields. This study was initiated to assess the potential for increasing millet yields through intercropping (living cover) and mulching (desiccated cover) practices. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Intercropping millet with cowpea or mungbean was found to increase millet grain yield compared to millet that was grown alone. Yield increases as high as 55% were recorded.
      • Increasing ground cover through mulching of millet was found to significantly increase soil moisture compared to millet grown with no additional ground cover. Soil moisture increased up to 14% in mulched soils compared to unmulched soils.
      • Intercropping millet with a legume (cowpea or mungbean) always resulted in a higher combined yield than growing either the millet or the legume by itself.

      Published: May 2, 2016

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