Plant and Soil

, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 11–22 | Cite as

Modeling long-term crop response to fertilizer and soil nitrogen

I. Model description and application
  • J. Wolf
  • C. T. De Wit
  • H. Van Keulen


A simple nitrogen balance model to calculate long-term changes in soil organic nitrogen, nitrogen uptake by the crop and recovery of applied nitrogen, is presented. It functions with time intervals of one year or one growing season. In the model a labile and a stable pool of soil organic nitrogen are distinguished. Transfer coefficients for the various inputs of nitrogen are established that specify the fractions taken up by the crop, lost from the system, and incorporated in soil organic nitrogen.

It is shown how input data, model parameters and initial pool sizes can be derived and how the model can be used for calculating long-term changes in total soil organic nitrogen and uptake by the crop. For nitrogen applied annually as fertilizer or organic material the time course of nitrogen uptake and recovery of applied nitrogen is calculated. To test the sensitivity of the model, calculations have been performed for different environmental conditions with higher or lower risks for losses. The model has also been applied to establish fertilizer recommendations for a certain target nitrogen uptake by the crop. Finally, for agricultural systems where periods of cropping alternate with peroids of green fallow the time course of nitrogen uptake by the crop is calculated.

Key words

fertilizer recommendations long-term fertilizer recovery nitrogen uptake simulation model soil nitrogen cycle 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wolf
    • 1
  • C. T. De Wit
    • 2
  • H. Van Keulen
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for World Food Studies, c/o CABOWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Theoretical Production EcologyAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CABOWageningenThe Netherlands

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