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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Efficient Management and Use of Animal Manure to Protect Human Health and Environmental Quality

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

Title: Corn response to enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers and poultry litter

Authors
item Sistani, Karamat
item Jn-Baptiste, Marcia -
item Simmons, Jason

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2013
Publication Date: March 6, 2014
Citation: Sistani, K.R., Jn-Baptiste, M., Simmons, J.R. 2014. Corn response to enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers and poultry litter. Agronomy Journal. 106(2):761-770.

Interpretive Summary: Commercial nitrogen (N) fertilizers have played a major role in increasing agricultural crop and livestock production and meeting the nutritional requirements of a growing human population. Also, Nitrogen has been considered one of the best crop input investments in terms of return on dollars spent. Commercial inorganic N fertilizers and organic N sources such as animal manure may also stimulate N losses, mainly in the form of gas to atmosphere and leaching to surface and underground water bodies. A 3-yr field study was established to examine corn (Zea mays L.) grain yield and nutrient uptake resulting from application of 168 kg N ha-1 as urea (U), urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), poultry litter (PL), and similar rate of commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers (EENF) as follow: polymer-coated urea (ESN®), SuperU®, UAN + AgrotainPlus®, and poultry litter + AgrotainPlus in a no-till corn production from 2009 to 2011. Aboveground plant biomass was harvested at physiological maturity each year to determine dry matter and nutrient uptake. Soil samples were taken three times per year to evaluate the status of the selected nutrients in soil. There was a significant increase in corn aboveground dry matter and grain yield with application of 168 kg N ha-1 compared with control treatment. There was no significant difference in corn grain yield or dry matter among the N sources. However, averaged across all N sources, corn grain yield (10 tons ha-1) in 2009 was greater than grain yield (7.5 tons ha-1) in 2010 and 2011, mainly due to higher rainfall precipitation and better distribution in 2009. Addition of AgrotainPlus to UAN and poultry litter did not influence corn grain yield. Additional research is needed to evaluate EENFs under different climatic conditions and different management practices.

Technical Abstract: Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients and costly input for crop production. Farmers are looking for better management practice to enhance production and reduce environmental impact. A 3-yr field study was established to examine corn (Zea mays L.) grain yield and nutrient uptake resulting from application of 168 kg N ha-1 as urea (U), urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), poultry litter (PL), and similar rate of commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers (EENF) as follow: polymer-coated urea (ESN®), SuperU®, UAN + AgrotainPlus®, and poultry litter + AgrotainPlus in a no-till corn production. Treatments were replicated four times in a completely randomized block design from 2009 to 2011. Aboveground plant biomass was harvested at physiological maturity each year to determine dry matter and nutrient uptake. Soil samples were taken three times per year to evaluate the status of the selected nutrients in soil. There was a significant increase in corn aboveground dry matter and grain yield with application of 168 kg N ha-1 compared with control treatment. There was no significant difference in corn grain yield or dry matter among the N sources. However, averaged across all N sources, corn grain yield (10.1 Mg ha-1) in 2009 was greater than grain yield (7.5 Mg ha-1) in 2010 and 2011, mainly due to higher rainfall precipitation and better distribution in 2009. Addition of AgrotainPlus to UAN and poultry litter did not influence corn grain yield. Additional research is needed to evaluate EENFs under different climatic conditions and different management practices.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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