Nitrogen fertilizer management based on site-specific management zones reduces potential for nitrate leaching.

Book Title: NA
Year Published: 2005
Month Published: NA
Author: Delgado, J. A. ; Khosla, R. ; Bausch, W. C. ; Westfall,D. G. ; Inman, D. J.
Book Group Author: NA

Although nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient that is a key component of intensive irrigated agricultural systems, its management to maximize yields and reduce losses to the environment is difficult. One reason is due to the spatial and temporal variability that affect residual soil nitrate-N (NO3-N) and NO3-N leaching potential. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of N fertilization prescriptions based on site-specific management zones to reduce NO3-N leaching losses. We mapped site-specific management zones based on soil colour from aerial photographs, topography, and the producer's past management experiences that reflect spatial soil variability. We used the Nitrate Leaching and Economic Analysis Package (NLEAP) model to assess the benefits of N management based on site-specific management zones. Nitrate leaching was variable across management zones with the highest leaching occurring in the low productivity zone. This study found that productivity zone is an important spatial factor in determining NO3-N leaching potential since site-specific management zones characterized the variability of factors that affect NO3-N leaching. As the N fertilizer rate is increased by productivity zone the rate of NO3-N leaching increased faster for the low productivity zone creating a "higher leaky zone". Since we found that a factor other than N is limiting yields, a better N management practice is to apply N accounting by realistic maximum yields to avoid over-fertilization, to reduce NO3-N leaching losses during the growing season and residual soil NO3-N that is available to leach during the non-growing season. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that spatially variable N management based on productivity zones produces less NO3-N leaching than uniform strategies while maintaining maximum yield. We estimated that by using a Site Specific Management Zone we cut NO3-N leaching losses by 25 percent during the first year after a site-specific management zones nutrient management plan.

Pages: 402 - 410
Volume: 60
Number: 6
Journal: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (Ankeny)
Journal ISO: NA
Organization: NA
Publisher: NA
ISSN: 0022-4561

aerial photography, centre pivot irrigation, computeranalysis, cropping systems, land management, leaching, losses from soil,maize, mapping, models, nitrate, nitrate nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers,precision agriculture, productivity, soil colour, soil variability,topography, Colorado, Zea mays, Mountain States of USA, Western Statesof USA, USA, North America, America, Developed Countries, OECDCountries, Great Plains States of USA, Zea, Poaceae, Cyperales,monocotyledons, angiosperms, Spermatophyta, plants, corn, Field Crops(FF005) (New March 2000), Plant Production (FF100), Plant CroppingSystems (FF150), Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy (JJ200), Soil Physics(JJ300), Soil Surveys and Land Evaluation (JJ500), Fertilizers and otherAmendments (JJ700), Automation and Control (NN050), Erosion; Soil andWater Conservation (PP400), Mathematics and Statistics (ZZ100)

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