Nitrogen Fertilization Methods for No-till Cropping of Winter Wheat in Central Montana

Earlier research in Alberta and North Dakota showed that using larger granules of urea compared to regular sized ag-grade urea was a means of increasing crop yield and reducing the potential for denitrification losses by slowing down nitrification of urea nitrogen (N). It is thought that a larger granule urea (up to 10 mm in diameter) that is used in helicopter applications to forestry replanting stands, and in agro-forestry plantations could be used as a broadcast application in no-till cropping systems in the Northern Great Plains (NGP). Recent developments of technology now allow the treatment of different sized granules of urea with both a urease and a nitrification inhibitor (i.e. Agrotain and DCD). This study will investigate the following factors in a factorial field experiment.

IPNI-2011-USA-MT18

Earlier research in Alberta and North Dakota showed that using larger granules of urea compared to regular sized ag-grade urea was a means of increasing crop yield and reducing the potential for denitrification losses by slowing down nitrification of urea nitrogen (N) (Nyborg and Malhi 1979, and Goos and Johnson 1993). Read more


Year of initiation:2011
Year of completion:2013
Map:

Interpretive Summary

The primary way to apply N fertilizer to winter wheat in Montana is to broadcast urea onto the soil surface in the late fall, or early spring. Because urea can quickly convert to ammonia, there can be some initial losses due to volatilization. Once urea moves into soil with precipitation, it is eventually converted to nitrate by soil microbes.

This experimental study was conducted on a no-till field at the Central Agricultural Research Center, Moccasin, MT, during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 crop years using winter wheat. Three N products (urea, Super-U® which contains urease and nitrification inhibitors, and ESN® which is a polymer coated urea) were applied at 80 lb N/A in the fall or spring using three methods (broadcast, sub-surface banded 2 in. deep between rows, and seed placed).

The most common method of applying N fertilizer to winter wheat crops in central Montana, is to broadcast urea or dribble apply liquid urea ammonium nitrate in the late fall, or early spring. With shallow soil profiles in central Montana, the soils do not hold much precipitation over winter. When precipitation exceeds the soil water holding capacity, the excess water carries N out of the soil profile, causing ground water contamination.

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Updates & Reports

2012

2012 Annual Report

2011

Project Description


Project Leader

Chengci Chen, Montana State University


Project Cooperators

Audrey Bamber
Dick Puurveen
Ross McKenzie


IPNI Staff

T. Jensen


Location

Americas \ Northern America \ USA \ Montana


Topics

4r place, 4r rate, 4r source, 4r time, nutrient management

wheat

Nitrogen (N)