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Effect of fertilizer placement on nitrogen loss from sugarcane in tropical Queensland

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Prasertsak, P., Freney, J.R., Denmead, O.T., Saffigna, P. G., Prove, B.G. and Reghenzani, J.R. (2002) Effect of fertilizer placement on nitrogen loss from sugarcane in tropical Queensland. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 62 . pp. 229-239. ISSN 1573-0867

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021279309222


This paper reports on the fate of nitrogen (N) in a first ratoon sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) crop in the wet tropics of Queensland when urea was either surface applied or drilled into the soil 3–4 days after harvesting the plant cane. Ammonia volatilization was measured with a micrometeorological method, and fertilizer N recovery in plants and soil, to a depth of 140 cm, was determined by mass balance in macroplots with 15N labelled urea 166 and 334 days after fertilizer application. The bulk of the fertilizer and soil N uptake by the sugarcane occurred between fertilizing and the first sampling on day 166. Nitrogen use efficiency measured as the recovery of labelled N in the plant was very low. At the time of the final sampling (day 334), the efficiencies for the surface and subsurface treatments were 18.9% and 28.8%, respectively. The tops, leaves, stalks and roots in the subsurface treatment contained significantly more fertilizer N than the corresponding parts in the surface treatment. The total recoveries of fertilizer N for the plant-trash-soil system on day 334 indicate significant losses of N in both treatments (59.1% and 45.6% of the applied N in the surface and subsurface treatments, respectively). Drilling the urea into the soil instead of applying it to the trash surface reduced ammonia loss from 37.3% to 5.5% of the applied N. Subtracting the data for ammonia loss from total loss suggests that losses by leaching and denitrification combined increased from 21.8% and 40.1% of the applied N as a result of the change in method of application. While the treatment resulted in increased denitrification and/or leaching loss, total N loss was reduced from 59.1% to 45.6%, (a saving of 13.5% of the applied N), which resulted in an extra 9.9%of the applied N being assimilated by the crop.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Plant culture > Field crops > Sugar plants
Live Archive:17 Jan 2024 03:21
Last Modified:17 Jan 2024 03:21

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