Determination of the critical soil mineral nitrogen concentration for maximizing maize grain yield
- 768 Downloads
Background and aims
A critical soil mineral nitrogen concentration (Nmin) for guiding fertilizer application and maximizing maize grain yield is needed.
A three-year field experiment with three N regimes, unfertilized (N0), optimized N management (Opt.) and conventional N practice (Con.) was performed in maize.
The mean soil Nmin in 0–60 cm soil profile for N0, Opt. and Con. treatments was 2.0, 6.7 and 8.9 mg kg–1 at V8–VT growth stages and 2.2, 6.1 and 11.2 mg kg–1 on average over the whole growth season, respectively. Correspondingly, the soil N supplying capacity (soil Nmin content + fertilizer N) of the three N treatments was smaller, identical or greater than the plant N accumulation at different growth stages. The Opt. treatment had significantly higher N use efficiency, N recovery efficiency and N partial factor productivity compared with the Con. treatment, while it did not cause maize yield loss.
Compared with the insensitivity of the critical shoot N dilution curve to excessive N application, soil Nmin showed strong response to all treatments. We propose a minimum of soil Nmin of 6.1 mg kg–1 at the sowing–V8, 6.7 mg kg–1 at the V8–VT, and 5.5 mg kg–1 at the VT–R6 growing stages with an average of about 6 mg kg–1 of soil Nmin in the 0–60 soil depth for maximizing maize yield and N use efficiency in northern China. To maintain this critical Nmin value over the whole growth period, N topdressing at V8 and V12 stages was recommended.
KeywordsN use efficiency Critical soil mineral N concentration N dilution curve Soil N supplying capacity Zea mays
We thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No: 31272232), the State Key Basic Research and Development Plan of China (No. 2013CB127402), the Innovative Group Grant of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31121062) and Chinese Universities Scientific Fund (No. 2012YJ039) for financial support.
- Dobermann A, Cassman KG (2004) Environmental dimensions of fertilizer N: what can be done to increase nitrogen use efficiency and ensure global food security? In: Mosier AR, Syers KJ, Freney JR (eds) Agriculture and the nitrogen cycle: assessing the impacts of fertilizer use on food production and the environment. Island Press, Washington D.C., pp 261–278Google Scholar
- FAO (2012) FAOSTAT Agriculture Database. http://faostat.fao.org/site/339/default.aspx
- Greenwood DJ, Lemaire G, Gosse G, Cruz P, Draycott A, Neeteson JJ (1990) Decline in percentage N of C3 and C4 crops with increasing plant mass. Ann Bot 67:181–190Google Scholar
- Heckman JR, Hlubik WT, Prostak DJ, Paterson JW (1995) Pre-sidedress soil nitrate test for sweet corn. Hortscience 30:1033–1036Google Scholar
- Ladha JK, Pathak H, Krupnik J, Six J, van Kessel C (2005) Efficiency of fertilizer nitrogen in cereal production: retrospects and prospects. In: Donald LS (ed) Advances in agronomy. Academic, San Diego, pp 85–156Google Scholar
- Li SK, Wang CT (2006) Report of survey on demand for science and technology by farmers in maize production. (In Chinese). http://chinamaize.con.cn/tishengxd/2006ku/2005-77-14/htm
- Vitousek PM, Naylor R, Crews T, David MB, Drinkwater LE, Holland E, Johnes PJ, Katzenberger J, Martinelli LA, Matson PA, Nziguheba G, Ojima D, Palm CA, Robertson GP, Sanchez PA, Townsend AR, Zhang FS (2009) Nutrient imbalances in agricultural development. Science 324:1519–1520PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar