Effective nitrogen (N) management practices are critical to sustain crop production and minimize nitrate (NO3−) leaching loss from irrigated fields in the Columbia Basin (U.S.), but studies on the applied practices are limited. Therefore, from 2014 to 2016, two separate field studies were conducted in sandy loam soils in the region to evaluate the performance of various N fertilizers in spring and winter wheat. The treatments consisted of two nitrification inhibitors (NIs) (Instinct® II and Agrotain® Ultra) in combination with two N fertilizers (urea and urea ammonium nitrate [UAN]) under two application methods (single vs. split-application) and two rates (100% vs. 85% of growers’ standard). The results from these field trials demonstrated that N fertilizer treatments did not affect wheat grain yield (GY) and grain protein (GP). In the spring wheat trial, higher NH4⁺-N content but lower NO3−-N content was observed in the UAN treatments (0–30 cm). However, the application of NIs had no considerable effect on soil N content. In the winter wheat trial, the split N application generally reduced NO3−-N and total mineral nitrogen (TMN) content, especially at 30–60 cm, in comparison to a single application. The use of Instinct® II tended to reduce NO3−-N and TMN contents, while Agrotain® Ultra was not effective in inhibiting nitrification. Our findings suggest that more studies on the effectiveness of NIs and N applications would enable growers to optimize N use efficiency and crop production in the region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science