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Italian ryegrass and nitrogen source fertilization in western Oregon in two contrasting climatic years. II. Plant nitrogen accumulation and soil nitrogen status



Italian ryegrass and nitrogen source fertilization in western Oregon in two contrasting climatic years. II. Plant nitrogen accumulation and soil nitrogen status



Journal of Plant Nutrition 20(4/5): 429-439



To develop optimum nitrogen (N) fertilization practices with the least impact on environmental quality and with the greatest economic return, it is imperative that a greater understanding of crop and soil N dynamics be sought. This paper reports on research conducted with these objectives: (i) to determine the relationship between plant N and dry matter accumulation and soil N status as affected by N-source fertilization as a function of accumulated growing degree days (GDD), and (ii) to determine if western Oregon soil conditions favor ammonium (NH4) over nitrate (NO3) nutrition during the period of grass seed crop growth. In a companion paper, plant growth and seed yield component data were discussed in relation to N-source treatments and climatic year effects. Western Oregon field plots of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) were fertilized with calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, and urea-dicyandiamide (DCD) to manipulate soil NH4 and NO3 ratios. Italian ryegrass accumulated the greatest portion of plant N and dry mass between tiller elongation and mid-heading. Reduced growth and seed yield in 1991, compared to 1992, were associated with lodging and low soil pH. Higher soil NH4 levels in 1991 was most likely responsible for a greater reduction in soil pH for that year. Declines in soil pH due to elevated NH4 levels during climate years normal to western Oregon, wet and cool, may have an additive effect to other factors limiting seed yield. When cool wet soil conditions exist NH4 was the predominate mineral N-form. Information reported here ant in the companion paper is valuable to farm managers and consultants in the context of N fertilization of ryegrass grown for seed in western Oregon. It begins to establish criteria for the future development of site specific nutrient management plans and adds knowledge that will aid in improving N-use efficiency through improving N fertilizer timing and N source use.

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Accession: 002881615

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DOI: 10.1080/01904169709365264


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