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Residual effects of fertilizer N response to split N applications in semiarid farmland

  • Wang, Shaojie1
  • Luo, Shasha2
  • Yue, Shanchao3
  • Shen, Yufang3
  • Li, Shiqing3
  • 1 Jilin Agricultural University, College of Resource and Environment, Key Laboratory of Soil Resource Sustainable Utilization for Jilin Province Commodity Grain Bases, Changchun, 130118, People’s Republic of China , Changchun (China)
  • 2 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Changchun, 130102, People’s Republic of China , Changchun (China)
  • 3 Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resource, State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Yangling, 712100, People’s Republic of China , Yangling (China)
Published Article
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Apr 26, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s10705-019-09995-y
Springer Nature


A better understanding of residual N fate is important for N management in agricultural production. The N application rate and time may dramatically influence N recovery in the plant–soil system, in turn affecting residual N uptake by subsequent crops. A 3-year field experiment was conducted in plastic-mulched maize in semiarid farmland. 15N-labeled urea was applied to microplots with a single application (100% before sowing, N1), two splits (4:6 at sowing and eight-leaf stages, N2), and three splits (4:3:3 at sowing, eight-leaf, and silking stages, N3), and the fate of residual fertilizer N in soils over the following two cropping seasons was examined. Approximately 14.6–18.7% and 5.4–5.8% of labelled fertilizer N were recovered by maize in the second and the third seasons, respectively, with the cumulative recovery efficiency reaching 47.6–60.8% over 3 years. Applying N with three splits significantly increased residual fertilizer N recovery by 24.6% in the second cropping season compared to N1 and N2. About 22.7–32.4% and 15–21% of total labelled N applied was residual in the 0–2 m soil layer after the second- and the third-season harvest, respectively, with the higher residual amount from split N applications. In conclusion, split N applications significantly increased the cumulative fertilizer N recovery in the plant–soil system while decrease the potential losses over 3 years, due to the higher recovery efficiency and the lower N losses from topdressed N.

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