Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 99–110 | Cite as

Residual effects of fertilizer N response to split N applications in semiarid farmland

  • Shaojie Wang
  • Shasha Luo
  • Shanchao Yue
  • Yufang Shen
  • Shiqing LiEmail author
Original Article


A better understanding of residual N fate is important for N management in agricultural production. The N application rate and time may dramatically influence N recovery in the plant–soil system, in turn affecting residual N uptake by subsequent crops. A 3-year field experiment was conducted in plastic-mulched maize in semiarid farmland. 15N-labeled urea was applied to microplots with a single application (100% before sowing, N1), two splits (4:6 at sowing and eight-leaf stages, N2), and three splits (4:3:3 at sowing, eight-leaf, and silking stages, N3), and the fate of residual fertilizer N in soils over the following two cropping seasons was examined. Approximately 14.6–18.7% and 5.4–5.8% of labelled fertilizer N were recovered by maize in the second and the third seasons, respectively, with the cumulative recovery efficiency reaching 47.6–60.8% over 3 years. Applying N with three splits significantly increased residual fertilizer N recovery by 24.6% in the second cropping season compared to N1 and N2. About 22.7–32.4% and 15–21% of total labelled N applied was residual in the 0–2 m soil layer after the second- and the third-season harvest, respectively, with the higher residual amount from split N applications. In conclusion, split N applications significantly increased the cumulative fertilizer N recovery in the plant–soil system while decrease the potential losses over 3 years, due to the higher recovery efficiency and the lower N losses from topdressed N.


15Residual N fate N application time N recovery efficiency Residual N distribution 



This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2015CB150402), National Key Research and Development Plan (2017YFD0201807, 2017YFD0200100), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41601308, 41601310).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaojie Wang
    • 1
  • Shasha Luo
    • 2
  • Shanchao Yue
    • 3
  • Yufang Shen
    • 3
  • Shiqing Li
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Resource and Environment, Key Laboratory of Soil Resource Sustainable Utilization for Jilin Province Commodity Grain BasesJilin Agricultural UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ResourceYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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