Urea Fertilizer Placement Impacts on Corn Growth and Nitrogen Utilization in a Poorly-Drained Claypan Soil

  •  Frank Johnson II    
  •  Kelly Nelson    
  •  Peter Motavalli    


Practices to increase nitrogen (N) use efficiency (NUE) include selecting appropriate N fertilizer sources and application methods, but minimal research has focused on these practices in poorly-drained claypan soils which are prone to N loss. This research assessed the impact of different urea fertilizer placement practices on corn (Zea mays L.) production and N utilization in a poorly-drained claypan soil. Field trials were conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Missouri. Treatments consisted of pre-plant deep banding (20 cm) urea at 202 kg N ha-1 or urea plus a nitrification inhibitor (NI) (nitrapyrin) compared to pre-plant urea broadcast surface-applied or incorporated to a depth of 8 cm. In 2014, incorporating urea, deep banding urea, and deep banding urea plus NI had higher yields (> 10%) of corn compared to the control with grain yields ranging from 13.73 to 14.05 Mg ha-1. In 2015, grain yields were lower than in 2014, ranging from 4.1 to 7.9 Mg ha-1. Deep placing banded urea with a NI yielded an increase in grain yield up to 48% compared to the other treatments. Rainfall amounts were higher in 2015, which could have resulted in poorer root growth and greater N loss in deep banded treatments. In 2014, deep banding urea with a NI produced the highest NUE. Similar to NUE, silage tissue N concentrations in 2014 were greater with deep banded urea plus NI, while in 2015 silage tissue N concentrations were higher with surface applied urea. The results suggest that urea fertilizer incorporation including deep banding may improve corn grain production, N uptake, and NUE, but response was affected by climatic conditions. The addition of an NI may be an important safeguard when deep banding urea in years with excessive precipitation.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1916-9752
  • Issn(Onlne): 1916-9760
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: monthly

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