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Water and Nitrogen Budget Dynamics for a Maize-Peanut Rotation in Florida  Public Access Limited Time

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 63(6): 2003-2020. (doi: 10.13031/trans.13916) @2020
Authors:   Maria I. Zamora Re, Sagarika Rath, Michael D. Dukes, Wendy Graham
Keywords:   Agricultural best management practices, Bare fallow, BMPs, Maize-peanut rotation, N balance, N fertilization, N leaching, Sandy soils, Sensor-based irrigation scheduling, Water balance.


DSSAT simulations of final N uptake, biomass, and yield for a maize-peanut rotational field experiment with three irrigation treatments and three N fertilizer rates had good performance for the irrigated treatments (average nRMSE of 9%) but greater error for the rainfed treatments (average nRMSE of 15%).

Experiments and DSSAT simulations demonstrated that N fertilizer and irrigation applications were reduced by 26% and 60%, respectively, when using a 247 kg N ha-1 fertilizer rate and a sensor-based irrigation schedule rather than conventional practices of 336 kg N ha-1 and a calendar-based irrigation method, with no impact on yield.

Simulations demonstrated that N leaching during the crop rotation was reduced by 37% when an N fertilizer rate of 247 kg N ha-1 and sensor-based irrigation scheduling were used versus conventional practices.

Soil N increased (≥15 mg kg-1) when maize and peanut residues decayed and then leached during the fallow season. Cover or cash crops planted immediately after the maize and peanut harvests have potential to take up this N and reduce leaching.

Abstract. Nitrogen (N) is an essential element for crop growth and yield; however, excessive N applications not taken up by crops can result in N leaching from the root zone, increasing N loads to waterbodies and leading to a host of environmental problems. The main objective of this study was to simulate water and N balances for a maize-peanut (Zea mays L. and Arachis hypogaea L.) rotational field experiment with three irrigation treatments and three N fertilizer rates. The irrigation treatments consisted of mimicking grower irrigation practices in the region (GROW), using soil moisture sensors to schedule irrigation (SMS), and non-irrigated (NON). The N fertilizer rates were low, medium, and high (157, 247, and 336 kg N ha-1, respectively) for maize with a constant 17 kg ha-1 for all peanut treatments. DSSAT maize genetic coefficients were calibrated using the SMS-high treatment combination under the assumption of no water or N stress. The other eight treatment combinations were used as independent data for model validation of the crop coefficients. All soil hydrologic parameters were specified based on measured values, and default DSSAT peanut genetic coefficients were used with no calibration. For the irrigated treatments, DSSAT models had good performance for N uptake, biomass, and yield (average nRMSE of 8%) and moderate performance for soil water content (average nRMSE of 18%). Soil nitrate RMSE was 21% lower than the standard deviation of the observed data (5.8 vs. 7.2 mg kg-1). For the rainfed treatments, DSSAT had greater error (average nRMSE of 15% for N uptake, biomass, and yield, and average nRMSE of 31% for soil water). Soil nitrate RMSE was 11% greater than the standard deviation of the observed data (8.0 vs. 7.2 mg kg-1), and nRMSE was >30% during the crop rotation. Simulations estimated that N leaching over the crop rotation was reduced by 24% on average when using the 247 kg N ha-1 fertilizer rate compared to 336 kg N ha-1 across the irrigation treatments. Furthermore, N leaching was reduced by 37% when using SMS to schedule irrigation and the 247 kg N ha-1 fertilizer rate for maize and 17 kg N ha-1 for peanut compared to conventional practices (GROW and 336 kg N ha-1 for maize and 17 kg N ha-1 for peanut). Moreover, this management practice reduced N fertilizer use by 26% and irrigation water use by up to 60% without negative impacts on yield. Observed and simulated soil N increased during maize and peanut residue decay, with simulations estimating that this soil N would leach below the root zone during the fallow season. This leaching could potentially be reduced if a cover crop or cash crop were planted between the maize and peanut crops to take up the mineralized N.

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