Labeled nitrogen fertilizer research with urea in the semi-arid tropics uri icon


  • Field studies were conducted on Indian Vertisol to determine the fate of15N-labeled fertilizers applied to dryland sorghum in two successive rainy seasons. In the 1981 season, a split-band (SB) urea application of 74 kg N/ha, half amounts placed 5 cm deep and 8 cm from opposite sides of plant rows at 4 and 19 days after emergence, was superior to preemergent applications of either surface-applied (S) or incorporated (I) applications at the same rate; 907 mm of rainfall fell during the sorghum growing period. Percentages of applied N recovered in the soil-plant system after the sorghum harvest were 94%, 74%, and 72%, respectively, for the SB, I, and S application methods. Substantial quantities, 39%, 45%, and 42% of the added N for the SB, I, and S tretments, respectively, remained in the soil after the final harvest. Plant utilization of added urea-N was greater in 1980 when rainfall during the growing season was 212 mm less than in 1981. S or I applications of urea at 74 kg N/ha, with above-ground plant15N recoveries of 48.0% and 48.6%, respectively, were also equally as efficient during 1980. Residual soil N derived from fertilizer was of little value for a sorghum crop in the following rainy season and for a safflower crop in the post-rainy season in a double-cropping system

publication date

  • 1984