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Modeling N Concentration and Uptake for Maize Hybrids under Growth Stage-Based Deficit Irrigations

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 60(6): 2067-2081. (doi: 10.13031/trans.12405) @2017
Authors:   Quanxiao Fang, Liwang Ma, Thomas J. Trout, Louise H. Comas, Kendall C. DeJonge, Lajpat R. Ahuja, Lucretia A. Sherrod, Robert W. Malone
Keywords:   CERES-Maize, Crop N concentration, Crop N demand, Crop N uptake, Deficit irrigation, Maize hybrid, RZWQM.

Abstract. Current maize hybrids have lower critical aboveground biomass nitrogen (N) concentration (TCNP) and grain N concentration (GNC) compared to older hybrids, but few crop models have incorporated this trend. The objective of this study was to evaluate alternative algorithms for calculating TCNP (biomass-based method) and GNC (grain N demand based on N dilution curve) for predicting crop N concentration and N uptake for a current maize hybrid in the CERES-Maize model as implemented in the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM). Experimental data were obtained from a field study on maize irrigated to meet various percentages (40% to 100%) of evapotranspiration demand at both vegetative and reproductive stages in 2012 and 2013 in Greeley, Colorado. The original RZWQM showed little response of aboveground N concentration (AGBNC) to the irrigation treatments and overpredicted GNC in both years. As a result, crop N uptake was generally overpredicted, with root mean square error (RMSE) values of 28 to 60 kg N ha-1 for the two years. Adjusted coefficients in the original TCNP and GNC algorithms (RZWQM_ADJ) effectively reduced the overpredicted GNC but with less improvement in response to the irrigation treatments in 2013 compared with the original RZWQM simulations. The RZWQM with modified TCNP and GNC algorithms simulated lower GNC and AGBNC than the original version, significantly improved the responses to the irrigation treatments, and captured the variations in measured GNC among seasons. The corresponding crop N uptake simulations improved more in 2012 than in 2013, with lower RMSE values of 16 to 32 kg N ha-1 than the original and RZWQM_ADJ versions. The better-predicted grain N uptake by the alternative algorithms could be helpful to making better crop N management decisions under different deficit irrigation conditions.

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