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Lentil Response to Nitrogen Application and Rhizobia Inoculation
- Huang, Jinwen, Keshavarz Afshar, Reza, Chen, Chengci
- Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2016 v.47 no.21 pp. 2458-2464
- Lens culinaris, crop yield, dryland farming, greenhouse experimentation, lentils, nitrates, nitrogen, pollution, protein content, soil, urea, Western United States
- Lentils (Lens culinaris L.) are an important component of the dryland farming systems in the western USA. Optimum nitrogen (N) management can enhance yield and quality of lentils. We conducted a field (at two locations, one with previous history of lentil and the other one without lentil history) and a greenhouse study to evaluate response of lentil to the application of rhizobium inoculant and starter N (control, 22 kg N ha ⁻¹ in the form of urea [U], 22 kg N ha ⁻¹ in the form of slow-release or environmentally safe nitrogen [ESN], and 22 kg N ha ⁻¹ U + 22 kg N ha ⁻¹ ESN). In both, the field and the laboratory studies, lentil yield did not respond positively to the experimental treatments. Lentil average yield was 1216 and 1420 kg ha ⁻¹ at the field condition. In this rain-fed system, lentil yield was mainly limited by moisture availability, and the application of an external N did not contribute to the yield enhancement. Both of these treatments, however, increased protein content. Compared to the control, the application of rhizobium plus U and ESN enhanced protein content by about 34% (from 23.1 to 30.9%). The application of U+ESN also considerably increased postharvest residual nitrate (NO ₃)-N in the soil, which can be easily leached and creates environmental pollution. Briefly, the application of U+ESN increases lentil protein content, but more efforts are needed to optimize N management in lentils in order to reduce the environmental concerns in the shallow soil.