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Evaluation and model of temperature and rainfall effects on response to N sources applied to grassland in spring

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Direct and residual effects of urea and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) on dry matter (DM) response were measured at a total of 12 application times in early spring over three years. The variation in the direct effect was described by models that included temperature and long-term rainfall for CAN and, additionally, short-term rainfall for urea. The operative temperature was the accumulated mean daily air temperature for combined intervals pre-application and postapplication of N. The effect of rainfall was apparent only when the data were adjusted for temperature.

Simulation studies with the models indicated that, although the influence of temperature was dominant, rainfall modified it strongly in terms of the relative efficiencies of the two N sources and the magnitude of response. For instance, the temperature-induced increase in DM response to urea between cold and normal years was 402 kg ha−1 for a specified period, whereas differences between dry and wet years were decreases of 166 and 259 kg ha−1 in the case of urea and CAN, respectively. Short-term rainfall had a positive effect on response to urea.

The experimental values varied widely both between and within years. The direct effect of the application of urea at 50 kg N ha−1 varied from 0 to 750 kg DM ha−1, and the residual effect varied from 0 to 1620 kg DM ha−1. The corresponding values for apparent N recovery varied from 0.1 to 45% and from 7 to 68%, respectively. The efficiency of urea was comparable to, and in instances better than, CAN.

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Herlihy, M., O'keeffe, W.F. Evaluation and model of temperature and rainfall effects on response to N sources applied to grassland in spring. Fertilizer Research 13, 255–267 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01066448

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Key words

  • urea
  • ammonium nitrate
  • model
  • temperature
  • rainfall
  • grassland