Residual Soil Nitrogen Evaluations in Irrigated Desert Soils, 2001
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AbstractField experiments were conducted in Arizona in 2001 at three locations (Maricopa, Marana, and Safford). The Maricopa and Safford experiments have been conducted for14 consecutive seasons and the Marana site was initiated in 1994. The original purposes of the experiments were to test nitrogen (N) fertilization strategies and to validate and refine N fertilization recommendations for Upland (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and American Pima (G. barbadense L.) cotton. The experiments have each utilized N management tools such as pre-season soil tests for NO₃⁻-N, in-season plant tissue testing (petioles) for N fertility status, and crop monitoring to ascertain crop fruiting patterns and crop N needs. At each location, treatments varied from a conservative to a more aggressive approach of N management. Results at each location revealed a strong relationship between the crop fruit retention levels and N needs for the crop. This pattern was further reflected in final yield analysis as a response to the N fertilization regimes used. The higher, more aggressive, N application regimes did not benefit yields at any location. Generally, the more conservative, feedback approach to N management provided optimum yields at all locations. In 2001, a transition project evaluating the residual N effects associated with each treatment regime was initiated and no fertilizer N was applied. Therefore, all N taken-up by the crop was derived from residual soil N. In 2001 there were no significant differences among the original fertilizer N regimes in terms of residual soil NO₃⁻-N concentrations, crop growth, development, lint yield, or fiber properties. The lint yields were very uniform at each location and averaged 1500, 1100, and 850 lbs. lint/acre for Maricopa, Marana, and Safford, respectively.