U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Soil Science Volume 174, Number 3, March 2009


US Government work; not subject to copyright in USA.


The use of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) in row-crop agriculture is increasing because of potential increases in water and nutrient use efficiency. Research-based information is needed to manage N applications through SDI systems in field corn (Zea-mays L.) production. This study was conducted to assess the effect of different in-season SDI system N application timings on corn production and residual soil N03-N at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, Neb, on a Cozad silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Fluventic Haplustoll). We evaluated the effect of three N application timing methods (varying percentages of the total N rate [48% of total N] applied at the VIO, VT, and R3 growth stages, in addition to uniform N applications [52% of total NJ over all treatments at preplant, planting, and V14 growth stage) at two N application rates (University of Nebraska-Lincoln [UNL] recommended rate and the UNL rate minus 20%) on corn grain and biomass yield and end-of-study distribution of residual soil N03-N. In 2006, there were no significant differences in corn grain yields between the two N application rates. In 2007, the grain yield under the UNL.recommended N rate was significantly higher (190 kg ha-1) than the UNL-minus-20%N rate. The average grain yield for this study was close to the predicted yields (based on average 5-year historic yields + a 5% yield increase), indicating that ,orn production under SDI is satisfactory. In 2006 and 2007, grain yield and biomass production for the N application timing treatments were not significantly different (P > 0.05). The application of 13% of the total N at as late as R3 did not result in decreased yields. The lack of response to differentN application timing treatments indicates that there is flexibility in N application timing for corn production under SDI. The distribution of N03-N in the 0- to 0.9-m and 0.9- to 1.8-m soil profiles was not significantly different among all the treatments.