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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Nitrogen Management and Nitrification Inhibitor Effects on Nitrogen-15 Urea: I. Yield and Fertilizer Use Efficiency


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 54 No. 1, p. 115-122
    Received: Apr 17, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D. T. Walters and
  2. G. L. Malzer 
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583
    Soil Sci. Dep., Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108



Nitrification inhibitors (NI) are sometimes recommended for use with ammoniacal fertilizers in corn (Zea mays L.) production to improve fertilizer N use efficiency (FUE). The objectives of this experiment were to evaluate the effects of the NI nitrapyrin [2-chloro-6-(trichloromethyl) pyridine] application on yield and FUE of irrigated corn, and to monitor the fate of a single application of 15N-enriched urea during a multiyear period in both soil and plant. Treatments included a factorial combination of two N rates (90 or 180 kg urea-N ha−1 yr−1) applied during a 3-yr period, with or without a NI and with or without incorporation, plus a zero-N control. Twenty-seven nonweighing lysimeters were used to quantify leaching load. Treatment effects on yield and FUE differed each year due to interactions of climate and N-management variables. Nonincorporated urea + NI reduced grain yield when leaching load was low and increased yield at the 90 kg ha−1 N rate when leaching load was high. Maximum FUE occurred at the 90 kg ha−1 N rate when leaching load was low. The NI increased FUE only at the 90 kg ha−1 N rate when leaching load was high. Incorporation of urea + NI reduced plant recovery of fertilizer-derived N (FDN) in the year of application, but resulted in increased uptake of residual FDN in subsequent years. Incorporation of NI with moderate N rates coupled with conservative irrigation management should reduce the risk of yield loss and minimize NO3 movement to groundwater.

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