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Title: Soil-Plant N Resiliency - What Is It and What Produces It?

item Meisinger, John
item Schepers, James

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2006
Publication Date: 11/14/2006
Citation: Meisinger, J.J., Schepers, J.S., Bundy, L., Randall, G., Raun, W.R. 2006. Soil-Plant N Resiliency - What Is It and What Produces It?. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: A common observation in multi-year or multi-location N-response studies is the capacity of the soil-plant system to vary plant available N with growing conditions, this characteristic is termed soil-plant N resiliency. Soil-plant N resiliency is not a newly discovered attribute, it has been observed by several generations of soil scientists, but its importance in N management schemes has not been fully appreciated. Nitrogen resiliency is a general biological characteristic of the soil-plant N cycle that is thought to be caused by soil and crop factors that interact with each other, and the environment, to produce higher grain yields on N-stressed plots in years with high-yield potentials and lower yields on the same plots in low-yield potential years. Some possible soil factors contributing to N resiliency are higher organic-N mineralization rates in good years, and/or higher N recovery efficiencies resulting from lower leaching and/or lower denitrification losses. Potential crop factors contributing to resiliency include a higher percentage distribution of fixed C into the grain compared to the roots in good years, or simply a greater total production of dry matter. The weather in high-yield years also interacts with N resiliency components with high solar radiation and ample rainfall contributing to higher photosynthesis vs. respiration rates, and/or higher transpiration rates that would transport more nitrates to the crop root surfaces. These explanations are necessarily speculative, because soil-plant N resiliency has not been systematically studied. Hopefully, a renewed interest in this characteristic will encourage future research studies that will expand our understanding of this characteristic. An increased comprehension of soil-plant N resiliency would improve its application to N recommendations, could identify management practices to enhance resiliency, and would permit improved communication of this characteristic to producers.