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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1996

Measured and simulated nitrogen dynamics in winter wheat and a clay soil subjected to drought stress or daily irrigation and fertilization

Kätterer, Thomas; Andrén, Olof


The temporal dynamics of N in above- and below-ground parts of winter wheat and the dynamics of soil mineral-N were measured in the field in four treatments in wheat and a grass ley (L). The wheat treatments were: control (C), drought (D), daily irrigation (I), and daily irrigation and fertilization (IF). Nitrogen (20 g m(-2)) was supplied as single doses in spring in C, D, and I, and according to a logistic N uptake function in IF. L, which was under establishment, was irrigated and fertilized in the same way as IF, but the total amount applied was only 5.6 g N m(-2). A soil nitrogen simulation model, SOILN, was used to combine crop and soil N data with measured litter decomposition rates and other major parts of the nitrogen cycle to calculate annual N budgets, based on daily model calculations. The dynamic patterns of crop N uptake and soil mineral N were similar in C, D, and I, although different in magnitude, but different in IF. Plant N uptake in C, D, and I was almost nil after anthesis, whereas it continued in IF until harvest. Generally, simulated soil mineral N levels (0-90 cm) agreed reasonably well with measurements on a yearly time scale, whereas their short-term dynamics were less well described by the simulations. We tested the hypothesis that the short-term variations were due to processes not included in the model, i.e., the loss of recently taken up plant N via roots during the growing season, and microbial N immobilization and remineralization processes induced by root-derived carbon. A simulated input to the soil of 150 g C m(-2) in IF, mimicking root-derived C, resulted in an improved agreement between simulated and measured short-term mineral N dynamics. Because of irrigation, net N mineralization of soil organic material in I and IF was about twice that in C and D, while that in L was about three times higher due to irrigation and high soil temperatures. Simulated N leaching during the following winter was highest in L, followed by I, IE C and D. Measurements and simulations of N amounts in the system indicated that daily fertilization decreased N leaching compared with single-dose fertilization.

Published in

Fertilizer Research
1996, volume: 44, number: 1, pages: 51-63

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil Sciences
Andrén, Olof
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil Sciences

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers


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