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The size of the Nmin soil pool as a factor impacting nitrogen utilization efficiency in maize (Zea mays L.)

Piotr Szulc, Hubert Waligóra, Tadeusz Michalski, Jan Bocianowski, Magdalena Rybus-Zając and Wioletta Wilczewska

The article presents the results of 3-year field tests aimed at evaluating the effect of the nitrogen dose balance based on the Nmin content. Nmin was evaluated in the context of the distribution in the soil profile and the effect of the type of nitrogen fertilizer on production efficiency indicators and the use of nitrogen in maize grain. In order to verify the assumptions, we determined the amount of nitrogen collected with grain yield, Nmin percentage in total nitrogen uptake with grain yield, agricultural and physiological efficiency and utilization of nitrogen and nitrogen Nmin content in the autumn after maize harvest. It has been shown that developing maize accumulates mineral nitrogen (Nmin) present in the soil in the rooting zone, especially during dry years. Incorporating nitrogen dose in the algorithm of the soil component pool significantly improves the performance indicators of the component application. It is possible for a fertilizer to exceed 100% of nitrogen utilization when nitrogen contained in the whole profile of maize rooting in the N pool is included. A significant increase in nitrogen accumulation in maize grain in the sulfur variant indicates that this element is a factor limiting the use of maize production potential in the test plot. Including the use of nitrogen-sulfur (N+S) fertilizer in maize and balancing the N dose based on Nmin reduces nitrogen eutrophication of the environment.

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