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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305090

Research Project: Integration of Site-Specific Crop Production Practices and Industrial and Animal Agricultural Byproducts to Improve Agricultural Competitiveness and Sustainability

Location: Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research

Title: Evaluation of RZWQ2 model and management of poultry litter as corn nitrogen source in the mid-southern United States

item Feng, Gary
item Tewolde, Haile
item Ma, Liwang
item Sistani, Karamat
item Jenkins, Johnie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2014
Publication Date: 11/2/2014
Citation: Feng, G.G., Tewolde, H., Ma, L., Sistani, K.R., Jenkins, J.N. 2014. Evaluation of RZWQ2 model and management of poultry litter as corn nitrogen source in the mid-southern United States. Agronomy Abstracts. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Knowledge on the proper time and amount of manure to be applied for optimum yield of a given crop without degradation of water quality is important for agricultural sustainability. Because of the numerous variables, computer simulation models would be valuable to partially replace expensive field experiments. The Root Zone Water Quality Model2 (RZWQM2) was calibrated and evaluated using three years (2006-2008) of field data to simulate nitrogen balance derived from broiler litter applied to a continuous corn production system. The experiment was located at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center of Mississippi State University near Starkville, Mississippi. Two rates of litter (9 or 18 Mg/ha) and one rate of NH4NO3-N at 202 kg/ha were applied in the fall and spring of 2006, 2007, and 2008 corn growing seasons in order to determine the right application time of litter in a corn field. The RZWQM2 was calibrated using observed data of the least stressed treatment of spring-applied 18 Mg/ha poultry litter, then was validated by the other treatments. Generally, the model was sensitive enough to respond to applications at different rates and timing of both manure and NH4NO3-N. The calibrated model provided predictions for yield, biomass, soil nitrate, plant N uptake and N balance at acceptable resolution (coefficient of determination R2, the Nash-Sutcliffe modeling efficiency EF and d index were greater than 0.56). Simulated N balance reveals that only 24% of applied total N in litter becomes available to plant in the first growing season regardless of timing. Repeated application of litter in the same field increased plant N availability to 40% and 45% in the second and third years, respectively. Twenty-three percent of the total N in litter applied over the three years was left in soil after harvest in the third year. Poultry litter lost 21% of its fertilizer potency when it is applied in the fall to fertilize spring-planted corn. Leaching and denitrification are the pathways of nitrogen loss. On average across the three years, fall application of 18 Mg/ha litter lost 54 kg N/ha more than spring application of the same rate, whereas application of 9 Mg/ha litter lost 59 kg N/ha regardless of the application timing.