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Improving the efficiency of nitrogen fertiliser use by fertiliser placement - NT1209

This study will aim to establish more efficient ways of applying N to crops and will provide information on the optimum N concentration in soil for satisfactory growth and establishment of specific row crops with high overall N requirements. The early growth and N uptake patterns of row crops (e.g. brassicas, leeks, potatoes and sugar beet) will be simulated using the HRI-N model. Rates and amounts of N suggested by the model will form the basis for experimental treatments. A field experiment will be established to examine the effects of a range of soil N concentrations on early crop growth (root and shoot), and N uptake of 3 crops which could include cauliflowers, leeks, potatoes, maize and sugar beet. The range of soil N concentrations selected will be guided by simulations of crop demand and root spread from the HRI-N model. Test crops will be planted at commercial plant spacings on several occasions to take into account variations in soil moisture content and temperature. Growth curves will be constructed and the soil N concentrations required for maximum growth at each stage over this period will be determined. In subsequent experiments, banded applications will be tested on selected crops in field experiments. The required soil N concentrations established in the first experiment will be supplied in a range of band widths. Banded applications will be compared with standard broadcast rates and other available methods of tailoring N applications to crop requirements. Measurements of crop yield, quality and soil mineral N at harvest will be made. Results of the study will be communicated in the form of at least 2 popular articles and to visitors to HRI sites at open days.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £165,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International
Fields of Study
Fertilisers and Nitrate Pollution