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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 2, p. 480-489
    Received: Feb 11, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): crosen@soils.umn.edu
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Nitrate Leaching and Nitrogen Recovery Following Application of Polyolefin-Coated Urea to Potato

  1. Francis Zvomuya,
  2. Carl J. Rosen *,
  3. Michael P. Russelle and
  4. Satish C. Gupta
  1. USDA-ARS, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, Room 439, St. Paul, MN 55108-6028


High N fertilizer and irrigation amounts applied to potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) on coarse-textured soils often result in nitrate (NO3) leaching and low recovery of applied fertilizer N. This 3-yr study compared the effects of two rates (140 and 280 kg N ha−1) of a single polyolefin-coated urea (PCU) application versus split applications of urea on ‘Russet Burbank’ potato yield and on NO3 leaching and N recovery efficiency (RE) on a loamy sand. Standard irrigation was applied in all years and excessive irrigation was used in another experiment in the third year. At the recommended rate of 280 kg N ha−1, NO3 leaching during the growing season was 34 to 49% lower with PCU than three applications of urea. Under standard irrigation in the third year, leaching from five applications of urea (280 kg N ha−1) was 38% higher than PCU. Under leaching conditions in the first year (≥25 mm drainage water in at least one 24-h period) and excessive irrigation in the third year, PCU at 280 kg N ha−1 improved total and marketable tuber yields by 12 to 19% compared with three applications of urea. Fertilizer N RE estimated by the difference and 15N isotope methods at the 280 kg N ha−1 rate was, on average, higher with PCU (mean 50%) than urea (mean 43%). Fertilizer N RE values estimated by the isotope method (mean 51%) were greater than those estimated by the difference method (mean 47%). Results from this study indicate that PCU can reduce leaching and improve N recovery and tuber yield during seasons with high leaching.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:480–489.