Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract Field trials were carried out to study the fate of15N-labelled urea applied to summer maize and winter wheat in loess soils in Shaanxi Province, north-west China. In the maize experiment, nitrogen was applied at rates of 0 or 210 kg N ha−1, either as a surface application, mixed uniformly with the top 0.15 m of soil, or placed in holes 0.1 m deep adjacent to each plant and then covered with soil. In the wheat experiment, nitrogen was applied at rates of 0, 75 or 150 kg N ha−1, either to the surface, or incorporated by mixing with the top 0.15 m, or placed in a band at 0.15 m depth. Measurements were made of crop N uptake, residual fertilizer N and soil mineral N. The total above-ground dry matter yield of maize varied between 7.6 and 11.9 t ha−1. The crop recovery of fertilizer N following point placement was 25% of that applied, which was higher than that from the surface application (18%) or incorporation by mixing (18%). The total grain yield of wheat varied between 4.3 and 4.7 t ha−1. In the surface applications, the recovery of fertilizer-derived nitrogen (25%) was considerably lower than that from the mixing treatments and banded placements (33 and 36%). The fertilizer N application rate had a significant effect on grain and total dry matter yield, as well as on total N uptake and grain N contents. The main mechanism for loss of N appeared to be by ammonia volatilization, rather than leaching. High mineral N concentrations remained in the soil at harvest, following both crops, demonstrating a potential for significant reductions in N application rates without associated loss in yield.
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