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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING SOIL AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINED PRODUCTIVITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Soil Plant Nutrient Research (SPNR)

Title: Irrigated, No-Till Corn and Barley Response to Nitrogen in Northern Colorado

Authors
item Halvorson, Ardell
item Reule, Curtis

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 22, 2007
Publication Date: October 25, 2007
Citation: Halvorson, A.D., Reule, C.A. 2007. Irrigated, No-Till Corn and Barley Response to Nitrogen in Northern Colorado. Agronomy Journal. 99:1521-1529.

Interpretive Summary: Converting irrigated, conventional till (CT) systems to no-till (NT) production systems can potentially reduce soil erosion, fossil fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen fertilization effects on irrigated, corn and malting barley yields in a corn-barley rotation were evaluated for 6 yr on a clay loam soil to determine the viability of this NT system and N needs for optimum crop yield. Corn and barley grain yields were increased by N fertilization each year in the rotation. Average corn grain yields were near maximum with an available N (AN) (soil + fertilizer + irrigation water N) level of 274 kg N ha-1. Barley yields increased linearly with increasing N rate with grain protein content near 130 kg protein Mg-1 grain at the highest N rate (112 kg N ha-1). Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by corn and barley, based on grain N removal, decreased with increasing AN level and ranged from 204 to 39 and 68 to 31 kg grain kg-1 AN for the low and high N treatments for corn and barley, respectively. Estimated total N required to produce one Mg grain at near maximum yield averaged 21 kg N for corn and 27 kg N for barley. Corn and barley residue production increased with increasing N rate. Irrigated, NT corn yields obtained in this corn-barley rotation were acceptable for northern Colorado. Barley yields were not maximized with the N rates used in this study, but grain protein was near maximum for malting barley. An irrigated, NT corn-barley production system appears to be feasible in northern Colorado.

Technical Abstract: Converting irrigated, conventional till (CT) systems to no-till (NT) production systems can potentially reduce soil erosion, fossil fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen fertilization (6 N rates) effects on irrigated, corn (Zea mays L.) and malting barley (Hordeum distichon L.) yields in a corn-barley rotation were evaluated for 6 yr on a clay loam soil to determine the viability of this NT system and N needs for optimum crop yield. Corn and barley grain yields were significantly increased by N fertilization each of three years in the rotation. Three year average corn grain yields were near maximum with an available N (AN) (soil + fertilizer + irrigation water N) level of 274 kg N ha-1. Barley yields increased linearly with increasing N rate with grain protein content near 130 kg protein Mg-1 grain at the highest N rate. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by corn and barley, based on grain N removal, decreased with increasing AN level and ranged from 204 to 39 and 68 to 31 kg grain kg-1 AN for the low and high N treatments for corn and barley, respectively. Estimated total N required to produce one Mg grain at near maximum yield averaged 21 kg N for corn and 27 kg N for barley. Corn and barley residue production increased with increasing N rate. Irrigated, NT corn yields obtained in this corn-barley rotation were acceptable for northern Colorado; however, barley yields were not maximized with the N rates used in this study, but grain protein was near maximum for malting barley. An irrigated, NT corn-barley production system appears to be feasible in northern Colorado.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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