Controlled-release N fertilizer, such as polymer-coated urea (PCU), may be a fall N management option for wheat (Triticum aestivum
L.) grown in poorly-drained claypan soils. Field research evaluated (1) urea release from fall-applied PCU in 2006 and 2007; (2) broadcast fall-spring split (25%:75%) of N sources; and (3) a single fall (100%) application of PCU, urea, urea plus NBPT (N
-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide] (U + NBPT), ammonium nitrate (AN), or urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) at 0, 56, 84, and 112 kg·N·ha−1
on wheat yield, wheat biomass, N uptake by wheat, and frost-seeded red clover (FSC) (Trifolium pratense
L.) forage yield (2004–2007). PCU applied in fall released less than 30% urea by February. Urea released from PCU by harvest was 60% and 85% in 2006 and 2007, respectively. In poorly-drained soils, wheat yields ranked PCU > AN > U + NBPT > urea ≥ UAN over the rates evaluated for fall-only application. PCU was a viable fall-applied N source, with yields similar to or greater than urea or U + NBPT split-applied. Split-N applications of AN, urea, UAN, and U + NBPT generally resulted in greater wheat yields than a fall application. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers provide farmers with flexible options for maintaining high yielding production systems.
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