Photosynthetic response of maize to nitrogen fertilization in the semiarid Western Loess Plateau of China

Lamptey, Shirley and Li, Lingling and Xie, Junhong and Zhang, Renzhi and Yeboah, Stephen and Antille, Diogenes L. (2017) Photosynthetic response of maize to nitrogen fertilization in the semiarid Western Loess Plateau of China. Crop Science, 57 (5). pp. 2739-2752. ISSN 0011-183X

Abstract

Agriculture in rainfed dry areas is often challenged by inadequate water and nutrient supplies. Responses to these challenges include adequate fertilization, but it is unknown whether different nitrogen (N) rates from that commonly used in the Loess Plateau can alleviate this issue. Field experiments were conducted over three cropping seasons to investigate the effect of different N fertilization levels on soil water dynamics, photosynthetic activity, and grain yield of maize (Zea mays L.) grown in the Western Loess Plateau of China. Fertilizer was applied at planting at rates between 0 and 300 kg N ha−1 at regular increments of 100 kg N ha−1 (referred to as N0 and N300, respectively), and treatments were arranged in a complete randomized block design. Results showed that water use efficiency in the N200 and N300 treatments was ∼60% higher than N0 and N100 (P<0.05), which translated into increased crop biomass and therefore grain yield (≈70–80%). These observations were consistent with all measurements of photosynthetic traits and suggested that, under the conditions of this study, the ecophysiological response of the crop may be optimized at N application rates in the range of 200 to 300 kg ha−1, depending on soil water availability. Agronomic efficiency calculations at this level of N fertilization reported consistently higher values and consequently suggested that environmental losses of applied fertilizer N were small. The current experimental results for the N application rates in the range of 200 to 300 kg ha−1 could be useful for improving N fertilizer and soil water management practices of maize production while maintaining a relatively stable yield level in rainfed dry areas. Future work should focus on optimizing timing and improving the placement of fertilizer N applied to maize.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 06:51
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 06:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: photosysthesis; nitrogen fertilizers; maize; semiarid cropping; soil water dynamics
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8204 Summer Grains and Oilseeds > 820401 Maize
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2016.12.1021
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33140

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