Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Agronomy Journal. 2020;112:4332–4343.

DOI: 10.1002/agj2.20335


U.S. government work


Anaerobic potentially mineralizable nitrogen (PMN) combined with preplant nitrate test (PPNT) or pre-sidedress nitrate test (PSNT) may improve corn (Zea mays L.) N management. Forty-nine corn N response studies were conducted across the U.S. Midwest to evaluate the capacity of PPNT and PSNT to predict grain yield, N uptake, and economic optimal N rate (EONR) when adjusted by soil sampling depth, soil texture, temperature, PMN, and initial NH4–N from PMN analysis. Pre-plant soil samples were obtained for PPNT (0- to 30-, 30- to 60-, 60- to 90-cm depths) and PMN (0- to 30-cm depth) before corn planting and N fertilization. In-season soil samples were obtained at the V5 corn development stage for PSNT (0- to 30-, 30- to 60-cm depths) at 0 kg N ha−1 at-planting rate and for PMN when 0 and 180 kg N ha−1 was applied at planting. Grain yield, N uptake, and EONR were best predicted when separating soils by texture or sites by annual growing degree-days and including PMN and initial NH4–N with either NO3–N test. Using PSNT (mean R2 = .30)-instead of PPNT (mean R2 = .19)-based models normally increased predictability of corn agronomic variables by a mean of 11%. Including PMN and initial NH4–N with PPNT or PSNT only marginally improved predictability of grain yield, N uptake, and EONR (R2 increase ≤ .33; mean R2 = .35). Therefore, including PMN with PPNT or PSNT is not suggested as a tool to improve N fertilizer management in the U.S. Midwest.