Submitted to: Advances in Agronomy
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 4, 2005
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Citation: Fageria, N.K., Baligar, V.C. 2005. Enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants. Advances in Agronomy. 88:97-185.
Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient for crop production in many of the world's agricultural areas and its efficient use is important for the economic sustainability of cropping systems. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of N and its propensity for loss from soil-plant system creates a unique and challenging environment for its efficient management. Crop response to applied N and use efficiency are important criteria for evaluating crop N requirements for maximum economic yield. Recovery of N in crops plants is usually less than 50% worldwide. Low recovery of N in annual crops is associated with its loss by volatilization, leaching, surface runoff, denitrification, and plant canopy. Low recovery of N is not only responsible for higher cost of crop production, but also for environmental pollution. Hence, improving N use efficiency (NUE) is desirable to improve crop yields, reducing cost of production, and maintaining environmental quality. To improve N efficiency in agriculture, integrated N management strategies that take into consideration improved fertilizer; soil and crop management practices are necessary. Including livestock production with cropping, offer one of the best opportunities to improve NUE. Synchrony of N supply with crop demand is essential in order to ensure adequate quantity of uptake and utilization and optimum yield. This paper discusses N dynamics in soil-plant systems, and outlines management options for enhancing N use by annual crops.