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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #219576

Title: Using Sensors to Predict Nitrogen Needs of Cotton

item SCHARF, P
item Vories, Earl
item DUNN, J

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2007
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Oliveira, L.F., Scharf, P., Vories, E.D., Stevens, G., Phillips, A., Dunn, J. 2007. Using sensors to predict nitrogen needs of cotton. In Proceedings Beltwide Cotton Conference, p.533. Memphis, Tennessee: National Cotton Council. 2007 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: Applying either too little or too much nitrogen (N) fertilizer to cotton lowers profit. The amount of N supplied by the soil is difficult to predict, making it hard to choose the best N rate to apply. Low preplant N, followed by a midseason N application (early square to first flower) offers an opportunity to diagnose N status and adjust N fertilization to the optimal level. Our objective was to develop interpretations for a hand-held Minolta chlorophyll meter to diagnose N status mid-season in support of profitable N rate decisions. Field-length (1100 ft) strips of N fertilizer rates from 0 to 150 lb N/ac were applied and replicated four times. Chlorophyll meter measurements were taken every two weeks from all N rate strips. Before harvest, alleys were cut every 50 feet across the strips, and a plot picker was used to measure yield in every 50 foot area. The experiment was divided into two zones using an NRCS soils map and a soil electrical conductivity map. Zone 1 was sandy and made up 28% of the field, while zone 2 was loamy. All yield data from zone 1 were used to construct a curve showing yield response to N in that zone, and the same was done for zone 2. From these curves, it was possible to calculate the most profitable rate of N in each zone. The experiment was conducted for three years, giving a total of six measurements of the most profitable N rate (3 years x 2 zones/year). We found that chlorophyll meter measurements in the 0 N strips, divided by measurements from the 150 lb N/ac strips, was strongly related to the most profitable N rate. We propose that chlorophyll meter measurements can be used to predict the most profitable N rate for a mid-season N application.