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Effect of nitrapyrin and nitrogen fertilizer on yield and mineral composition of corn zea mays



Effect of nitrapyrin and nitrogen fertilizer on yield and mineral composition of corn zea mays



Agronomy Journal 72(5): 729-732



Fertilizer N applied in the fall or early spring is often used less efficiently than N applied closer to the time of maximum N demand by plants. Nitrification inhibitors make it possible to delay nitrification of applied NH4+-N in the soil and thereby reduce overwinter and early spring N loss from leaching and denitrification. Because NH4+ absorption may induce changes in plant mineral composition, the effect of inhibiting nitrification of NH4+-N on the mineral composition of corn leaf tissue as well as on grain yield and protein content was evaluated under field conditions. Anhydrous ammonia with and without nitrapyrin [2-chloro-6-(trichloromethyl) pyridine] at 0.55 kg/ha was applied in the fall and spring on soils of 3 types. Addition of nitrapyrin to fall-applied NH4+ significantly increased grain yield and grain protein. Grain protein was sometimes increased when nitrapyrin was applied with NH4+ in the spring. Grain protein content was increased by N and nitrapyrin and from 10 to 33%. Protein generally continued to increase even after the maximum yield had been reached. The mineral composition of leaves was more dependent on soil type than on N treatment. The minerals K, Ba and Mn were higher, and Ca, Mg and Al were lower in plants grown in Tracy sandy loam (Ultic Hapludalfs, coarse-loamy, mixed, mesic) than in those grown in either Runnymede loam (Typic Argiaquolls, fine-loamy, mixed, mesic) or Chalmers silty clay loam (Typic Haplaquolls, fine-silty, mixed, mesic) soils. The concentrations of minerals in plants were similar with fertilizer treatments and time of application. Zn was the only mineral in plants that significantly increased when nitrapyrin was added to NH4+. Nitrification inhibitors can effectively reduce N losses without adversely affecting the uptake of other minerals or the mineral composition of corn leaf tissue.

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