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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NITROGEN FERTILIZER USE EFFICIENCY AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Measure the crop production and environmental impacts of using new fertilizer technology.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
This series of experiments will include a controlled release polymer-coated urea (ESN), stabilized urea sources of SuperU and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) treated with AgrotainPlus, a cation-stabilized amine (PiNT), conventional sources of UAN and urea, and an unfertilized check. An N source study will be conducted at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, PA to determine gaseous losses. Nitrous oxide gas emissions will be measured throughout the growing season using vented chambers with gas analysis by gas chromatography. Crop yield, soil N content, temperature, soil water, and other data required to determine N use efficiency and interpret the emission results will be collected. In complementary laboratory experiments, ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions will be measured on surface soil samples collected from the field site and incubated in jars under controlled soil moisture conditions. Nitrogen losses in runoff will be measured on runoff boxes packed with soil collected from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) experiment station, amended with the seven N fertilizer treatments described above, and subjected to simulated rainfall following the rainfall simulation protocol for indoor soil boxes as developed and described by the National P Project. N losses in the form of ammonium, nitrate and urea will be determined by flow injection analyses. Nitrogen leaching losses from the fertilizer treatments will be measured on soil columns using intact soil cores collected from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) experiment station and at Rock Springs, PA on turfgrass plots established on constructed greens equipped with lysimeters.


3.Progress Report

The desired result of subobjective 1.2., “Evaluate sensor-based N management on corn yield and N use efficiency” is to reduce nitrogen leaching losses that flow to the Chesapeake Bay and other water bodies by improving nitrogen use efficiency. Through this project, the purported improved nitrogen use efficiency (30% less N application required) of the PiNT technology developed by Plant Impact plc. is being assessed, quantified and reported. PiNT is a cation-stabilized amine form of nitrogen fertilizer. The collaborating Penn State scientist is using project funds to support a Penn State postdoc, who is coordinating research activities. One nitrogen rate trial comparing PiNT to a nitrate fertilizer analog on turfgrass was completed and the trial is being repeated in a second growing season. Preliminary results showed that PiNT at the 75 percent rate compared favorably to the nitrate fertilizer analog at the 100 percent rate with the added benefit that PiNT amended turf plots did not exhibit salt burn following application. A similar rate study of PiNT on corn was established during the 2010 growing season. Progress was made in a column leaching study that is designed to determine whether the stable amine in the PiNT formulation resists leaching. Leaching through columns filled and uniformly packed with thoroughly mixed soil is underway. Forty five soil column lysimeters were collected for use in evaluating leaching through undisturbed soil horizons following the conclusion of the leaching study on packed soil columns. Progress was made on a hydroponics study designed to evaluate the ability of various agronomic and horticultural plants to directly uptake and utilize the stabilized amine. Progress was monitored by daily communications among ARS and Penn State members of the scientific research team, participation in meetings on an as needed basis, and by email exchange of data and information.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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