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Nitrogen Fertilization Timing Effect on Wheat Production, Nitrogen Uptake Efficiency, and Residual Soil Nitrogen

Mercedes M. Alcoz, Frank M. Hons, Vincent A. Haby
Agronomy journal 1993 v.85 no.6 pp. 1198-1203
plant tissues, application timing, nitrogen content, nitrogen, developmental stages, nutrient uptake, soil analysis, Triticum aestivum, yield components, split application, application rate, nitrogen fertilizers, Texas
Split fertilizer N application has been proposed for improving N uptake efficiency in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production systems, but results have been inconsistent. In this field study, 75 and 150 kg N ha⁻¹ was applied either all preplant or in two, three, or four split applications based on wheat growth stage (GS) to determine N timing effect on wheat yield and apparent fertilizer N recovery. Vegetative samples were also collected at Feekes GS 4, 6, and 10 to determine treatment effects on tissue N concentration during the growing season. Soil samples were collected after harvest to evaluate residual N quantity and movement in soil relative to N rate and time of application. The soil used was a Fluventic Ustochrept-Udic Chromustert intergrade. Nitrogen rate and application timing appeared to have less effect than year on yield and N parameters. Significant grain yield increases were achieved with split applications of N fertilizer when N was topdressed at GS 4 or 6 in 1989 as compared with all preplant or application at GS 10. Split N application at GS 10 produced greater grain yield than application at GS 4 or 6 in 1990. Nitrogen uptake efficiency was greatest with 75 kg N ha⁻¹ and split application. Soil NO⁻₃-N concentration was significantly higher at 150 kg N ha⁻¹ than at 75 kg N ha⁻¹. Significantly lower residual NO⁻₃-N with the preplant treatment was not accounted for by greater grain or straw N content. Research supported in part by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Muscle Shoals, AL.