Nitrogen uptake and N-use efficiency of Mediterranean cotton under varied deficit irrigation and N fertilization

S. Stamatiadis, C. Tsadilas, V. Samaras, J. S. Schepers, Kent M Eskridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Efficient N management is essential to optimize yields and reduce degradation of the environment, but requires knowledge of deficit irrigation effects on crop yields and crop N outputs. This study assessed the N content and N-use efficiency of cotton over the 2008 and 2009 growing seasons in a single field site of the Thessaly Plain (central Greece). The experiment consisted of nine treatments with three fertilizer rates (60, 110 and 160 kg N ha-1) split into three irrigation levels (approx. 1.0, 0.7 and 0.4 of the amount applied by the producer). Reduced water supply induced a shift in the distribution of N within the plant with seeds becoming an N sink under conditions of water stress. Total crop N increased linearly with irrigation level and reached a maximum average of 261 and 192 kg N ha-1 in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Fertilizer application did not trigger a crop N or yield response and indicated that N inputs were in excess of crop needs. Variation in weather patterns appeared to explain annual differences of nitrate-N in the top soil and N uptake by the crop. The index of lint production efficiency (iNUE) detected crop responses caused by irrigation and annual effects, but failed to account for excessive N inputs due to mineral fertilizer applications. A maximum average iNUE of 9.6 was obtained under deficit irrigation, whereas an iNUE of 8.1 was obtained under 40 cm irrigation when crop N uptake was not excessive (192 kg ha-1 in 2009). In contrast, NUE, as an estimator of N recovery efficiency, identified excessive fertilizer inputs as N losses to the environment and indicated that 60 kg N ha-1 was a rate of high N removal efficiency and long-term N balance. However, NUE failed to account for crop N responses to irrigation and weather/management patterns. In this case study, neither index was able to detect all the factors influencing the N mass balance and both were required in order to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the environmental performance of our cropping system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Agronomy
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Fingerprint

deficit irrigation
cotton
irrigation
crop
nitrogen
crops
irrigation rates
fertilizer application
weather
fertilizer
yield response
lint cotton
fertilizer rates
water stress
mineral fertilizers
crop yield
topsoil
Greece
water supply
cropping systems

Keywords

  • N losses
  • Plant fractions
  • Rainfall
  • Roots
  • Seeds
  • Soil nitrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Nitrogen uptake and N-use efficiency of Mediterranean cotton under varied deficit irrigation and N fertilization. / Stamatiadis, S.; Tsadilas, C.; Samaras, V.; Schepers, J. S.; Eskridge, Kent M.

In: European Journal of Agronomy, Vol. 73, 01.02.2016, p. 144-151.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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