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Spatial variation of nitrogen mineralization as a guide for variable application of nitrogen fertilizer to cereal crops
- Córdova, Carolin, Barrera, JuanAlberto, Magna, Carlos
- Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems 2018 v.110 no.1 pp. 83-88
- autumn, cost effectiveness, cropping systems, environmental impact, fertilizer application, grain crops, mineralization, monitoring, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, organic matter, soil, spring, statistical analysis, surveys, variance
- The site specific management of variable rate nitrogen (N) fertiliser application to crops is a cost-effective system that optimises outputs and reduces environmental impact. However, its implementation requires information on the spatial variability of soil and crop variables and, especially, of the N supply from the soil, measured as the available N and the N mineralized from organic matter. The objective of this study was to obtain the spatial structure of the variation of net N mineralization, within the field scale in a cereal cropping system, in order to improve site specific N management. A nested sampling survey was conducted in the field using scales of variation at 1.5, 4.5, 13.5, 40.5 and 121.5 m, arranged in hierarchical order with n = 96 samples. Samples were collected in autumn and spring and N mineralization measured by aerobic incubation. The components of variance of the N mineralized were calculated using residual maximum likelihood and used to produce an approach to the variogram. The within-field spatial variation was almost all (92–93%) encompassed by the scales of variation measured, all occurring within 40.5 m in both seasons. However, there was a significant amount of fine scale variation at 1.5 m in autumn and 4.5 m in spring. These results will guide future spatial sampling of the N supply, and soil monitoring in general.