Impact of fertilizer application timing on drainage nitrate levels

Reid D. Christianson, Matthew J. Helmers, Carl H. Pederson, Peter A. Lawlor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Nitrate loss from drainage systems in Iowa and other upper Midwestern states is a concern relative to local water supplies as well as the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, there is a need to quantify how various nitrogen management practices impact nitrate loss. One practice that is commonly mentioned as a potential strategy to reduce nitrate loss is to vary fertilizer application timing and specifically apply nitrogen as close to when the growing crop needs it as possible. At a site in Gilmore City, Iowa, a number of fertilizer timing and rate schemes within a corn soybean rotation were used to study the impacts on nitrate leaching. Timing schemes include nitrogen application in the fall and an early season sidedress in the spring with each scheme having four replicates for both corn and soybeans. Fertilizer application rates investigated are 84 and 140 kg/ha (75 and 125 Ib/ac) in the fall and 84 and 140 kg/ha (75 and 125 Ib/ac) in the spring. The timing and rates have been practiced since 2005 with contrasting weather conditions each year. Overall, an annual basis there was not significant differences in nitrate concentrations or loss exiting the drainage system between the application rates or between the fall and spring application. In addition, there was not a yield penalty to the corn crop when fertilizer as applied in the fall versus the spring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2009, ASABE 2009
Pages3105-3112
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2009 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jun 21 2009Jun 24 2009

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2009, ASABE 2009
Volume5

Other

OtherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2009
CountryUnited States
CityReno, NV
Period6/21/096/24/09

Keywords

  • Application rate
  • Corn
  • Nitrate
  • Soybean
  • Subsurface drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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