Assessment of the nitrogen management strategy using an optical sensor for irrigated wheat uri icon

abstract

  • Blanket fertilizer nitrogen (N) recommendations for large irrigated wheat tracts lead to low N-use efficiency due to field-to-field variability in soil N supply and seasonal variability in yield. To achieve high N use efficiency, a site-specific N management strategy using GreenSeeker (TM) optical sensor was evaluated. We conducted seven field experiments during 2004-2006 at three locations to define relationships between in-season sensor measurements and yield of wheat and to know whether response of wheat to fertilizer N can be estimated by sensor measurements. During 2005-2007, four field experiments were conducted to assess the sensor-based N management strategy and to work out prescriptive N management to be followed prior to applying sensor-guided fertilizer dose. We observed robust relationships between in-season sensor-based estimates of yield at Feekes 5-6 and 7-8 stages and actual wheat yields. Response of wheat to fertilizer N defined by the sensor was highly correlated with harvest response index. Sensor-guided fertilizer N applications resulted in high yield levels and high N-use efficiency. Application of 90 kg N ha(-1) at planting or in two equal doses at planting and crown root initiation stage was the appropriate prescriptive fertilizer N management. This study reveals that high N-use efficiency in irrigated wheat can be achieved by replacing blanket fertilizer recommendation by an optical sensor-based N management strategy consisting of applying moderate amount of fertilizer N at planting and crown root initiation stages and sensor-guided fertilizer N dose at Feekes 5-6 or 7-8 stages of wheat.

publication date

  • 2011
  • 2011