Nitrogen fertilizer (15N) leaching in a central pivot fertigated coffee crop

Rafael Pivotto Bortolotto, Isabeli Pereira Bruno, Klaus Reichardt, Luís Carlos Timm, Telmo Jorge Carneiro Amado, Ademir de Oliveira Ferreira
2012 Revista Ceres  
Nitrogen has a complex dynamics in the soil-plant-atmosphere system. N fertilizers are subject to chemical and microbial transformations in soils that can result in significant losses. Considering the cost of fertilizers, the adoption of good management practices like fertigation could improve the N use efficiency by crops. Water balances (WB) were applied to evaluate fertilizer N leaching using 15N labeled urea in west Bahia, Brazil. Three scenarios (2008/2009) were established: i) rainfall +
more » ... rrigation the full year, ii) rainfall only; and iii) rainfall + irrigation only in the dry season. The water excess was considered equal to the deep drainage for the very flat area (runoff = 0) with a water table located several meters below soil surface (capillary rise = 0). The control volume for water balance calculations was the 0 - 1 m soil layer, considering that it involves the active root system. The water drained below 1 m was used to estimate fertilizer N leaching losses. WB calculations used the mathematic model of Penman-Monteith for evapotranspiration, considering the crop coefficient equal to unity. The high N application rate associated to the high rainfall plus irrigation was found to be the main cause for leaching, which values were 14.7 and 104.5 kg ha-1 for the rates 400 and 800 kg ha-1 of N, corresponding to 3.7 and 13.1 % of the applied fertilizer, respectively.
doi:10.1590/s0034-737x2012000400006 fatcat:oa3rjnd6dfaurnv7lqr6i2eszu