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Enhanced-efficiency fertilizer effects on cotton yield and quality in the Coastal Plains
- Watts, Dexter B., Runion, G. Brett, Smith Nannenga, Katy W., Torbert, H. Allen
- Agronomy journal 2014 v.106 no.2 pp. 745-752
- Gossypium hirsutum, Kanhapludults, ammonium sulfate, coastal plain soils, coastal plains, crop yield, fertilizer application, fiber quality, leaching, loamy sand soils, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, polymer-coated urea, poultry manure, runoff, upland soils, urea, urea ammonium sulfate, Alabama
- Interest in the use of enhanced-efficiency N fertilizer (EENFs) sources has increased in recent years due to the potential of these new EENF sources to increase crop yield, while at the same time decreasing N loss from agricultural fields. The efficacy of these fertilizer sources on cotton production in Southeastern US upland soils has not been well documented. Thus, a field study was conducted on a Coastal Plain soil (Marvyn loamy sand; fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Kanhapludult) in Central Alabama from 2009 to 2011 to compare EENFs to traditional N sources in a high-residue conservation cotton production system. Nitrogen fertilizer sources evaluated included urea, ammonia sulfate, urea-ammonia sulfate, controlled-release, polymer-coated urea (ESN), stabilized urea (SuperU), poultry litter, poultry litter + AgrotainPlus, and an unfertilized control. Generally, no significant differences in yield were observed between the traditional sources and EENFs. Nitrogen source affected fiber quality; however, effects varied among years and generally would not have impacted discount/premium values. In the present study, EENFs produced yields similar to conventional fertilizers, suggesting their higher cost may render them impractical at present. However, if EENFs reduce N loss through leaching, runoff and N(2)O flux from agricultural fields they could become viable alternative fertilizer sources. More research is needed on the benefits of enhanced efficiency fertilizer use as a tool in production systems.