The comparative effect of a mixed urea ammonium nitrate ammonium sulfate granular formulation on the efficiency of nitrogen recovery by perennial ryegrass
Fertilizer Research 14(3): 193-204
The 15N isotope was used to study the mode of action of individual nitrogen sources in a 30% urea:30% ammonium nitrate:10% ammonium sulphate:30% filler (w/w) granular fertilizer for perennial ryegrass in a greenhouse pot experiment. The fertilizer consisted of two types of granules, one containing 80% urea and 20% filler and the second containing 48% ammonium nitrate (AN), 16% ammonium sulphate (AS) and 36% filler. In addition the effect of dolomite compared with silica as the filler was investigated on nitrogen recovery from the 30:30:10:30 formulation. Dolomite adversely affected the recovery of nitrate N from the system and evidence suggested that MgCO3 was the active component. Granules containing dolomite resulted in a lower dry-matter yield than those containing silica, however the difference was not significant as nitrate contributed only 20% of the N in the formulation. AN gave the greatest DM yield and urea the lowest with AS being intermediate. The 15N budget in shoots, roots and soil indicated that only 65% of the N from urea was recovered at the end of the experiment compared with 86% for AN and 91% for AS. The dry-matter yield of the 30:30:10:30 formulation using silica as the filler was intermediate between urea and AN; however, the apparent N recovery was significantly higher than expected from the sum of the individual components. The use of 15N labelling indicated that using separate granules for ammonium N and urea the recovery of urea was improved by 11% in the triple N mixture when both AN and AS were present in the second granule compared to the recovery on its own. The enhanced recovery of urea appeared to be a function of AN and AS acting together as neither source in double combination with urea had any effect on urea N recovery. Urea enhanced the recovery of nitrate N by 10% but decreased the recovery of AS by 6% (in the 30:30:10:30 formulation) in comparison with the single sources on their own. The results indicate that interactions can occur between N sources even when they are physically separated by being in different granules.