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Nitrogen Source And Rate Effects On Residual Soil Nitrate And Overwinter NO3-N Losses For Irrigated Potatoes On Sandy Soils

Chedzer-Clarc Clément, Athyna N. Cambouris, Noura Ziadi, Bernie J. Zebarth, Antoine Karam

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Residual soil NO3-N (RSN) is susceptible to loss during the non-growing season. This 5 yr study investigated the effects of three N fertilizer sources [ammonium nitrate (AN), ammonium sulfate (AS), and polymer-coated urea (PCU)] applied at four rates (60, 120, 200, and 280 kg N ha−1) plus an unfertilized control on RSN following potato production and on overwinter NO3-N changes in an irrigated sandy soil in Quebec, Canada. Composite soil samples were collected at the 0–15, 15–30, 30–60, and 60–90 cm depths immediately after potato harvest in fall and again in the following spring from 2008 to 2012. Residual soil NO3-N content within the 0–30 cm depth (RSN0–30) was highly correlated with the RSN content in the 0–90 cm depth (RSN0–90), indicating that RSN0–30 can be used as an indicator of soil profile NO3-N accumulation. Overall, RSN0–90 increased with fertilizer N application rate, particularly for above the minimum fertilizer N rate required to maximize yield (Nmax), and was generally higher for years with greater pre-plant soil NO3-N. The split application of AN and AS resulted in lower RSN0–90 than the single application of PCU at above Nmax. Overwinter losses of soil NO3-N were generally increased with increasing RSN0–90 in fall. The results suggest that reducing the fertilizer N rate is more important than the choice of N source in managing RSN.