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Film-mulched maize production: response to controlled-release urea fertilization

  • J. M. GUO (a1), J. Q. XUE (a2), A. D. BLAYLOCK (a3), Z. L. CUI (a1) and X. P. CHEN (a1)...


Optimal nitrogen (N) management for maize in the film-mulched production systems that are widely used in dryland agriculture is difficult because top-dressing N is impractical. The current research determined how matching N supply and demand was achieved before and after silking stages, when single applications of controlled release urea (CRU) were combined with conventional urea in film-mulched maize production. The CRU: urea mixture was applied in a 1 : 2 or 2 : 1 ratio and all three fertilizer regimes (urea alone and CRU: urea at 1 : 2 or 2 : 1) were applied at N rates of 180 and 240 kg/ha over 2 years. The 1 : 2 CRU: urea mixture, applied once at 180 kg N/ha, was found to synchronize N supply with demand, thereby reducing N losses. The highest grain yields (11·8–12·0 t/ha), N uptake (232–239 kg/ha), N recovery (65·8–67·7%) and high net economic return were achieved with this regime. These results indicate that a single application of a mixture of CRU and urea can synchronize N supply with demand and provide higher yields and profits than conventional N fertilization in film-mulched maize systems.


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