Fate of Fertilizer Nitrogen as Affected by Time and Rate of Application on Corn
- William E. Jokela and
- Gyles W. Randall
Management of fertilizer N on corn (Zea mays L.) can greatly affect the efficiency of N use and the potential for adverse environmental effects. Field studies were conducted on two nonirrigated southern Minnesota soils — a Webster clay loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Typic Haplaquoll) and a Mt. Carroll silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Mollic Hapludalf) — to determine the effect of time and rate of N application on recovery of fertilizer-derived N (FDN) in corn grain and stover and in the soil. Nitrogen rates of 75 and 150 kg ha-1 on the Mt. Carroll soil and 100 and 200 kg ha-1 on the Webster were applied at planting or at the eight-leaf stage as (NH4)2SO4 to the same plots from 1982 to 1984. Enriched 15N was applied to separate microplots each of the first 2 yr to allow measurement of FDN. Grain yield responded to applied N in 5 of 6 site-yr, but not to time of application. Uptake of FDN in grain was increased by higher N rate in all cases, but by delayed application in only one site-year. Total plant FDN recovery ranged from 31 to 60% at the low N rate and from 24 to 45% at the high rate. Both yields and FDN recovery were affected by unusually dry midseason conditions. Fertilizer-derived N recovery from the soil after harvest ranged from 25 to 56%, with a large proportion at the high N rate in inorganic forms, especially with the late application, which increased the potential for leaching losses. Residual uptake of FDN by grain ranged from 1 to 10% of the initial N rate. The difference method for estimating FDN recovery gave different results from the 15N method, emphasizing the importance of examining both labeled and nonlabeled N pools for complete inter-pretation of 15N studies.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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