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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Spatial Nutrient Relationships and Profitability of Variable-Rate Fertilizer Application in a Wheat and Sunflower Rotation

Authors
item Franzen, D - NDSU/FARGO, ND
item Halvorson, Ardell
item Hofman, V - NDSU/FARGO, ND

Submitted to: Proceedings of Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2000
Publication Date: March 5, 2000
Citation: Franzen, D.W., Halvorson, A.D., Hofman, V.L. 2000. Spatial nutrient relationships and profitability of variable-rate fertilizer application in a wheat and sunflower rotation. Proceedings of Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference. 8:88-93.

Interpretive Summary: The use of variable-rate fertilizer technology in the semi-arid northern Great Plains production systems needs to be evaluated. Soil sampling on a one-acre grid intensity is not practical for dryland production systems. This study tested various soil sampling strategies and evaluated whether variable-rate nitrogen application would provide a positive economic return nto growers. The results show that NO3-N, P, S, and Cl levels in the soil were often related to topography. This reduced the number of soil samples needed to make meaningful nutrient management decisions. Application of a variable-rate of nitrogen fertilizer appeared to be profitable in sunflower when the range in soil NO3-N was large enough to make a meaningful change in N rate across the field.

Technical Abstract: A variable-rate fertilizer study was conducted near Mandan, ND in a winter wheat, sunflower, spring wheat rotation. Grid soil sampling from these fields revealed that fertility patterns were related to topography. The nutrients included in this relationship were NO3-N, P, S, and Cl. By zone soil sampling based on topography, the number of soil samples required to describe the field was reduced while maintaining a high or higher level of information than the next best grid size sampling estimate. Variable-rate application of fertilizer was profitable in sunflower when the range of NO3-N values was sufficient to provide for meaningful change in N rate and when the range was in a category where changes of N rate were possible.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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