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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 6, p. 675-679
    Received: Jan 21, 1963
    Accepted: May 8, 1963

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Relationship Between Yield Response to Applied Fertilizers and Laboratory Measures of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Availability1

  1. D. L. Grunes,
  2. H. R. Haise,
  3. F. Turner Jr. and
  4. J. Alessi2



Surface soils (generally 0- to 7-inch depth) and subsoils (generally 7- to 21-inch depth) were collected from sites in 13 Western states. Total N, initial NO3-N, NO3-N present after incubation, and NaHCO3-soluble P were determined on all samples. On 14 surface soils these laboratory measures were correlated with values of N and P availability obtained in a controlled light-temperature plant growth chamber. Growth response to applied N was highly correlated with nitrates in nonincubated soils, as well as with nitrates present following incubation. However, correlations were better with the sum of the NO3-N produced during incubation and the NO3-N present in nonincubated soils, than with only the NO3-N produced. Correlation coefficients were higher when the soils were incubated 3 weeks, rather than 6 weeks, and also when no CaCO3 was added to the soil prior to incubation. The following measurements were good predictors of increase in barley yields following N fertilization in growth chamber experiments: NO3-N in nonincubated soils; NO3-N present following incubation; total N in plants from non-N plots; “N” values of Munson and Stanford; and relative uptake of total N by plants in the P and NP plots.

The following measurements were good predictors of yield increases of barley when P was applied in the growth chamber: NaHCO3-soluble P; A values of Fried and Dean; total P in plants from non-P plots; and relative uptake of total P by plants in the N and NP plots.

In 46 field trials, laboratory measures of available N in the soil were compared with yield response to applied N fertilizers. Similarly, in 44 field trials, yield response from applied P was compared with NaHCO3-soluble soil P. When the laboratory estimate for available soil N or P was low, growth response to fertilization was generally obtained in the field studies. When the soil level of available P was high, there was generally no yield increase following the addition of P fertilizer. However, yield response sometimes occurred on sites having high soil test values for available N. Differences, in the ability of the N and P laboratory tests to predict response to fertilization in field trials, are attributed to the influence of climate. Except for the relatively small amounts of initial available N in the soil, soil moisture and temperature determine the N supply from mineralization. However, mineralization of organic P may not be very important for supplying P to plants on soils having fairly high initial NaHCO3-soluble P levels.

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