• Macronutrients in soil and bromegrass after long-term N fertilization

      Harapiak, J. T.; Malhi, S. S.; Gill, K. S.; Flore, N. (Society for Range Management, 2004-03-01)
      Information on the long-term impact of repeated annual fertilizer applications of different nitrogen (N) sources on soil and plants is needed to develop sustainable grassland production systems. The concentration of macronutrients in the 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-30, 30-60, 60-90 and 90-120 cm layers in a thin Black Chernozemic (Typic Boroll) soil and in bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) hay were compared after 15 annual applications of 168 and 336 kg N ha-1 as ammonium nitrate, urea, calcium nitrate, and ammonium sulphate, and a zero-N check. The concentration of NO3-N was increased by ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate at both N rates in most soil layers, by calcium nitrate at both N rates and by urea at 336 kg N ha-1 in the 15-60 cm soil. The accumulation of NO3-N increased with soil depth down to 60 cm, except for urea and ammonium sulphate at 168 kg N ha-1, and then it declined in deeper soil layers. The concentration of NH4-N was increased with fertilizer applications in some of the surface soil layers. The concentration of P was increased in the top 15 cm soil by ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate. The concentrations of Ca, Mg and K in the surface soil declined with most of the N fertilizer treatments while some treatments increased the Ca and Mg concentrations in the deeper soil layers. Increasing the N rate from 168 to 336 kg N ha-1 usually accentuated the above stated N effects on the concentration of macronutrients in the soil. The nitrate-based fertilizers caused more accumulation of NO3-N in some soil layers than the ammonium-based fertilizers. The relative increase in the concentration of NH4-N and P and the decline in the concentration of Ca, Mg and K in the soil by N addition was usually associated with the concomitant lowering of soil pH by N fertilization. In bromegrass hay, the total N concentration was increased by N fertilization but the concentration of other elements, except K, usually declined because of the dilution effect of the extra hay yield associated with N addition. Increasing the N rate from 168 to 336 kg N ha-1 further elevated the total N concentration but had no effect on the concentration of the other elements. Total N concentration in the hay tended to be greater with ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate than with the other 2 fertilizers. The concentration of total S was greater with ammonium sulphate than the other N fertilizers, and the concentration of P, Ca, Mg and K was not affected by the N fertilizer type. Fertilizer-induced high levels of NO3-N, NH4-N and P in soil may present potential for environmental pollution at these high N rates.