Submitted to: Stormwater
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2001
Publication Date: 5/22/2002
Citation: Delgado, J.A., Bausch, W.C., Wright, D., Olivieri, L., Duke, H.R., Follett, R.F., Westfall, D., Dillon, M., Thompson-John, A. 2002. Use of innovative tools to increase nitrogen use efficiency and protect environmental quality for temperate and tropical regions. J. Stormwater. 3:48-56.
Interpretive Summary: Our initial research shows the potential to use a combination of differential global position systems, with geographic information systems, remote sensing, digital video cameras, chlorophyll and NO3- -N Meters, yield monitors, computer models and other new technologies to contribute to the delineation of management zones and implementation of variable rate technologies that can increase NUE and improve the management of the cropping system. However, the potential application of these practices will depend on the variability of each individual field. Furthermore, the economical viability of these practices will also depend on the potential benefits and crop responses such as higher yields, improvement in product quality, best use of inputs such as fertilizers, lime, herbicides, and others. The application and use of these new technologies requires a planning period where soil testing and data analyses is conducted. The generation of maps that can be used with variable rate technology is the initial application. There is also the potential use of these technologies for improving management during the growing season. Remote sensing supported with crop scouting and generation of additional variable rate maps is also a potential application. There is potential to use these practices in the Carribean Region to develop management zones for better use of resources and protection of environmental quality.
Technical Abstract: Water and wind erosion can remove nutrients such as phosphorous (P), nitrogen (N), soil organic matter, fine particles and other essential elements from agricultural systems that are potential contributors to environmental problems such as eutrophication of water bodies. Irrigation and/or rain events can also contribute to nitrate (NO3- -N) leaching and denitrification. It has been reported that worldwide nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for cereals is about 33%, the uncounted 67% is equivalent to annual losses of billions of dollars worldwide. Although lower N levels in the root zone will reduce yields, product quality can also be affected by higher levels of N. At higher than needed N soil concentrations, protein content for malting barley (Hordeum Vulgare L.) can be increased, sugar content of sugar beets (Beta vulgaris L.) can be reduced, and culinary qualities such as shape, size and color of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers can be affected. These are compelling reasons to continue to improve N management practices that can contribute to higher NUE, while protecting the environment and maintaining higher yield and product quality. The combination of differential global position systems, with geographic information systems, remote sensing, digital video cameras, chlorophyll and NO3- -N Meters, yield monitors, computer models and other new technologies can contribute to the delineation of management zones and implementation of variable rate technologies that can increase NUE and improve the management of the system.