Nitrogen Management and Nitrification Inhibitor Effects on Nitrogen-15 Urea: II. Nitrogen Leaching and Balance
- D. T. Walters and
- G. L. Malzer
Nitrification inhibitors (NI) may reduce N leaching losses, and should have the greatest effect on sandy soils where leaching potential is high. This study used 27 lysimeters to evaluate the effect of a NI, nitrapyrin [2-chloro-6(trichloromethyl) pyridine], on soil water percolation (SWP) and N leaching losses from an irrigated sandy loam soil (Typic Hapludoll) planted with corn (Zea mays L.), and monitor the fate of a single application of 15N-enriched urea over a multiyear period. Urea was applied at 90 and 180 kg N ha−1 yr−1 for a 3-yr period, with and without NI, and with and without incorporation. Urea + NI reduced SWP between planting and silking in 2 out of 3 yr when growing degree days (GDD) were high. After silking, SWP was reduced when urea + NI was incorporated and leaching load was high. A twofold increase in N rate resulted in an average of 3.4 times more N leached over 3 yr. The NI influenced time of N loss but not total N loss. Leaching losses of fertilizer-derived N (FDN) were delayed 25 to 50 d when urea + NI were incorporated. The leaching load required to reach the maximum rate of FDN loss was higher with urea + NI. Leaching losses of fertilizer N were three times greater when determined by the difference method than by isotope-ratio analysis. Differing results with these two calculations are attributed to isotope dilution with indigenous soil N as a result of microbial activity. Nitrification inhibitors may reduce the potential for nonpoint-source pollution by delaying NO3 leaching, but will be most effective if coupled with proper N rates and conservative irrigation water management.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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