Nitrogen management impacts on yield and nitrate leaching in inbred maize systems

Daniel P. Rasse, Joe T. Ritchie, W. Richard Peterson, Ted L. Loudon, Edward C. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Little information is available regarding N management of inbred maize (Zea mays L.), which exports less N than hybrid maize. Nitrate contamination of the groundwater has been a concern in St Joseph County in southwest Michigan where >20000 ha of seed maize are grown on sand and sandy loam soils. Over application of N fertilizer potentially reduces profits of the local growers and poses a threat to the environment. A field experiment was conducted from 1990 to 1994 to estimate N fertilizer requirements of three different inbred varieties for maximizing yields while minimizing ground water pollution. Yield and N content of grain and stover were analyzed at the end of each growing season. Nitrate leaching was monitored throughout the 5 yr of study by collecting and analyzing drainage flows out of five large field lysimeters. Grain yield was the least responsive to N fertilization, compared with stover biomass, and grain and stover N concentrations. Analyses of yield, NO3-N leaching and soil N balance indicated that the appropriate fertilization of the P38 mid-season inbred approximated 108 kg N ha-1. Nitrate leaching out of unfertilized plots reached a threshold of 12 to 15 kg N ha-1 yr-1, during the last 2 yr of treatment. Application of 101 and 202 kg N ha-1 generated an average annual loss of 26 and 60 kg N ha-1, respectively, during the last 2 yr of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1371
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Nitrogen management impacts on yield and nitrate leaching in inbred maize systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this