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Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas

versão impressa ISSN 2007-0934

Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc vol.7 no.2 Texcoco Fev./Mar. 2016



Efficient use and apparent recuperation of nitrogen in fodder corn at different grounds

Anselmo González Torres1 

Uriel Figueroa Viramontes2 

Pablo Preciado Rangel1 

Gregorio Núñez Hernández2 

J. Guadalupe Luna Ortega3  § 

Oralia Antuna Grijalva1 

1Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro UL-Departamento de Ciencias Básicas. Periférico Raúl López Sánchez S/N, Valle Verde, 27059 Torreón, Coahuila. Tel: 01 871 729 7610. (;;

2Campo Experimental La Laguna-INIFAP. Blvd. José Santos Valdez 1200 Pte., Col. Centro, Matamoros C. P. 27440, Matamoros Coahuila. Tel: 01 871 182 30 70. (;

3Universidad Politécnica de la Región Laguna. Carretera Lázaro Cárdenas km.3, Antiguo Internado de Santa Teresa, C. P. 27900, San Pedro, Coahuila. Tel: 01 872 773 4091.


Fertilization is the component of bigger influence in the production of fodder corn and nitrogen is the nutriment of bigger request and the more limitation for this cultivation. The correct recommendation of the dose of fertilization improves the efficiency of the fertilizers and it reduces the superficial and subterranean risks of water pollution. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficiency of use of nitrogen at two grounds of contrasting texture (clayey and sandy). The evaluated treatments were 0, 50, 175, 300 and 425 kg -1. The bigger moral values in the efficient use of I nitrogenate and the apparent recuperation of the I nitrogenate the elders at the ground came from clayey texture. With the increment in them dose of fertilization himself increase in the production of biomass but dismiye the efficient use of I nitrogenate as well as the apparent recuperation of the same increasing the potential risk of environmental contamination that way.

Keywords: extraction of N; nitrogenated fertilization; performance of dry matter


La fertilización es el componente de mayor influencia en la producción de maíz forrajero y el nitrógeno es el nutrimento de mayor demanda y el más limitante para este cultivo. La correcta recomendación de la dosis de fertilización mejora la eficiencia de los fertilizantes y reduce los riesgos de contaminación de aguas superficiales y subterráneas. El objetivo del presente estudio fue evaluar la eficiencia de uso de nitrógeno en dos suelos de textura contrastante (arcilloso y arenoso). Los tratamientos evaluados fueron 0, 50, 175, 300 y 425 kg ha-1. Los mayores valores en el uso eficiente de nitrogeno y la recuperacion aparente del nitrogeno fueron mayores en el suelo de textura arcillosa. Con el incremento en las dosis de fertilizacion se aumento la produccion de biomasa pero dismiye el uso eficiente de nitrogeno asi como la recuperacion aparente del mismo aumentando asi el riesgo potencial de contaminacion ambiental.

Palabras clave: extracción de N; fertilización nitrogenada; rendimiento de materia seca


The production of milk in the district Lagunera is intensive and highly tecnificada producing around 9 million daily liters (SAGARPA, 2015) and one of the principal raw materials for the cattle's nutrition it is maíz's silage. The alfalfa and corn are the principal fodder cultivations at this geographic zone, they complement both cultivations in relation to the nutrition of the animals, the corn in the contents of fiber required by the ruminants for digestion and the alfalfa like source of protein in the production of milk (Montemayor et al., 2012). The average yields of green meat and I dry of corn in the district Lagunera they come from 49 and 17 Mg ha-1 is respectively (Cueto et al., 2006).

One of the main limiting factors for obtaining high yield and quality of corn silage is the dose of nitrogen fertilization (de Menezes et al., 2013). Because of this it is common for producers applied dose of nitrogen (N) higher than those required by the culture. This increases production costs, reduces crop profitability and increasing potential risk of contamination as the N does not absorb the plant is lost through different processes, such as volatilization, denitrification and nitrate leaching etc. (Delgado y Follett, 2010). To reduce the risk of nitrate pollution significantly without reducing yields is necessary to know the nutrient requirements of crops, fertilizer type, shape and phenological stage this input should be applied (Klocke et al., 1999).

The efficient management of nitrogen fertilizers in agricultural production systems is essential to avoid excessive applications, avoiding potential risks of environmental pollution without reducing the profitability of the crop (Fallah y Tadayyon, 2010; Cueto et al., 2013). Because the importance of N in plants, the high amounts being sued in the growth of crops and the growing concern for preserving the environment, was raised as targets for this work. 1) evaluate the efficiency with which the forage maize used to produce the N dry matter; and 2) determine whether the efficient use of nitrogen (UEN) and the apparent recovery of nitrogen (RAN) are affected by soil type and dose of N.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted in the Experimental La Laguna (CELALA) of the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP) in Matamoros, Coahuila, located in the Laguna Region. This region is geographically located at latitude 24° 22' north latitude and the meridian 102° 22' W, has an altitude of 1 120 meters, the annual average rainfall is 215 mm and the average annual temperature 22.6 °C (INEGI, 2010). two soils of contrasting texture were used: clayey and sandy texture up to 60 cm deep; in Table 1, some other features of these soils is. All soil analyzes were performed according to the methods described in the Official Mexican Standard NOM-021-RECNAT-2000 (SEMARNAT, 2000). Forage maize variety SB-302 was used, which was sown in plots of 10 m wide by 15 m long.

Table 1 Soil properties at baseline. 

Parámetro Unidad Valor
pH 8.14 8.41
Conductividad eléctrica dSm-1 042 0.385
Textura Arcilloso Franco arcillo arenoso
Arena (%) 20.4 56.55
Arcilla (%) 48 6 25.35
Nitrato mg kg-1 102 9.42
Amonio mg kg-1 4.7 15.6

The experimental design was randomized complete block with four replications. All plots received 80 kg ha-1 of P2O5, as a source phosphoric acid (52% P2O5). N doses evaluated are noted in Table 2. The dose of 300 kg ha-1 was calculated using a balance method (Palma et al., 2002) for a performance target of 16 Mg ha-1 MS, considering extraction crop of 14 kg N Mg MS (Faz et al., 2006), residual N in soil 75 kg ha-1 and N use efficiency of 60%.

Table 2 Dose N and percentage of the dose applied at planting or irrigation for help. 

Dosis de N (kg ha-1) 1er riego (%) 2° riego (%) 3er riego (%)
50 100
175 60 40
300 50 35 15
425 50 35 15

Other treatments accounted for 0, 33, 67 and 133% of the dose of N + N residual (0, 50, 175 and 425 kg ha-1), doses were divided into three applications before each of the first three irrigations (Cueto et al., 2013). The percentage of the dose of N applied in each irrigation is noted in Table 3. The source was ammonium N (20.5% N), which was dissolved in water before applying irrigation sulfate. A system of piping with multi-floodgates to apply the irrigation was utilized.

Table 3 Dry matter yield of silage maize plants in response to increasing doses of N. 

Dosis de Níkgha-1) Suelo arcilloso (Mg ha-1) Suelo arenoso (Mgha-1)
0 5.2 b 11.13b
50 19.87a 16.68 a
175 21.44a 17.41a
300 19.31a 18.64a
425 21.7a 17.63 a

Letras distintas en la misma columna indican diferencias significativas (Duncan, 0.05).

Was applicable to him an irrigation of pre-planting or aniego, and four irrigations of help, to the 21 40 57 and 73 days after planting (DDS). The harvest came true to the 97 DDS, in the maturity stage of the grain of a third part of advance of the milk line (Nuñez et al., 2005). The forage yield was estimated to be a useful plot two center rows 10 m long. To express the dry matter yield, the moisture content was calculated on a sample of four plants per plot, which were weighed fresh and then oven dried to constant weight; MS average was 37.5%. For analysis of N plan a sample of the aerial part of five plants per plot was taken and the total N was analyzed in the whole plant by the Kjeldahl method (Jones, 2001). The variables analyzed were: total yield of dry matter (MS), extraction and concentration of N in the plant efficiency and apparent recovery N.

Efficient use of N (SBU) is calculated with Equation 1: (Zemenchik and Albrecht, 2002).

UEN= (MSTi - MST0) / DN * 100 1)

Where: UEN= efficient use of nitrogen (ML Mg kg-1 N), MSTi= dry matter harvested in the fertilized treatment (Mg ha-1), MST0= dry matter harvested in the treatment without nitrogen (Mg ha-1) and DN= dose nitrogen fertilized treatment (kg ha-1).

The apparent recovery of N (RAN) was calculated using Equation 2: (Zemenchik and Albrecht, 2002).

RAN= (NETi - NET0) / DN * 100 2)

Where: RAN= apparent recovery of nitrogen (%), Neti= nitrogen extracted by the plant in the fertilized treatment (kg ha-1), NET0= nitrogen extracted by the plant in the treatment without nitrogen (kg ha-1) and DN= dose of nitrogen fertilization treatment (kg ha-1).

The data obtained were analyzed with the statistical program SAS version 9.1 (SAS Institute, 2003), by analysis of variance and comparison of treatment means was performed using Duncan's test with a significance level of 0.05.

Results and discussion

Performance of dry matter

The MS yield showed significant differences due to the doses used of N (Table 3). The MS production in both soil application of N was statistically similar and superior to the control treatment. The highest yields were obtained with 425 kg ha-1 of N in clay soil and 300 kg ha-1 in the sandy soil. Although this does not imply that they are the most appropriate dose of N as it is necessary to consider the removal of the crop, available soil N and N lost, the benefit cost and environmental impact. It has been reported that since there is greater availability of N in the soil, stimulates root growth and consequently the further development of the aerial part and therefore higher dry matter (de Menezes et al., 2013), has been reported that a good forage maize yield in terms of dry matter must be greater than 18 Mg ha-1 (Núñez et al., 2006).

From the above it follows that, for the clay soil and sandy soil was not necessary to increase the dose of N, because with the lower dose of N applied and residual soil N were sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of the crop and achieve the expected performance of 16 Mg ha-1 to estimate the dose according to the balance method (Palma et al., 2002). Regression analysis of forage MS production at the dose of N corn was adjusted to a quadratic model, with coefficients of determination of 0.78 to 0.95 (Table 4). These quadratic models can help predict MS yields long as doses are within the range of doses studied fertilization. The above results are similar to those reported by Miguez and Bolleros (2006); Varvel et al. (2007), who recommend the quadratic model to describe the relationship between the dose of nitrogen fertilization and crop yield of corn.

Table 4 Quadratic regression equations yield of dry matter depending on the rates of nitrogen. 

Textura del suelo Ecuación r2
Arcilloso RMS = -0.0018•N2 + 0.3398•RN +7.0077 0.8374
Arenoso RMS = -0.000•N2 + 0.153•RN + 11.51 0.952

Nitrogen extracted

The extraction of N in the two soils was significantly lower in the treatment where no N was applied with respect to the fertilized treatments (Table 5).

Table 5 Nitrogen extracted by the plant (kg ha-1). 

Tratamientos Arcilloso Arenoso
0 35.25 c 83.36b
50 216.9b 161.65a
175 238.02 ab 134.14a
300 217 15b 186 14a
425 267.85 a 183.57a

Letras distintas en la misma columna indican diferencias significativas (Duncan, 0.05).

The highest average extraction of N was in the clayey soil. The increase in the dose of nitrogen in the clay soil of 50 to 425 kg ha-1 caused significant increases in the extraction of N, with no differences for sandy soil as the latter is reduced fertility and increased susceptibility to suffer leaching losses because the ammonium in clay soil can be retained in the exchange sites which partially prevents loss (Salgado et al., 2001). In our study the lowest dose of fertilization, extraction exceeded the applied dose, indicating that a large portion of plant N was provided on the floor; in constrast with increasing fertilization, extraction decreases indicating that the N is not properly utilized by the crop, thus reducing the UEN (Figure 1). The increase in the extraction of N is related to greater production of MS (Table 3). The values in the extraction of N are similar to those found by other studies in maize Menezes et al. (2013) report a removal of N (129-224 kg ha-1) with a dry matter yield of 14.8 to 19.9 Mg ha-1; instead Butler et al. (2008) reports a removal of N (176- 311 kg ha-1) with MS yields from 13 to 25 Mg ha-1.

Figure 1 Efficient use of nitrogen (UEN) kg MS/kg N in different N fertilization rates in 2007 and 2008 for the two types of sandy and clay soil. 

The N extracting the plant at harvest, depending on the dose of N to a quadratic model, significant r2 values of 0.75 to 0.84 was adjusted (Table 6).

Table 6 Regression equations and coefficient of determination of nitrogen removal at harvest (Next) depending on the dose of nitrogen. 

Suelo Ecuación r2
Arcilloso Next=-0.0196•N2+4.0004•RN + 58.914 0.8379
Arenoso Next=-0.005•N2+ 1.371•RN +93.34 0.758

Efficient use of nitrogen

In the treatment with doses of N 50 kg ha-1 in both types of achievement land values in the SBU 29.3 and 11.1 kg MS (kg N-1) to the ground clayey and sandy respectively (Figure 1). These values were significantly higher than those obtained by other treatments (175, 300 and 425 kg ha-1). As was increasing the dose of fertilization decreased the SBU, as we reported (Barbieri et al., 2008; De Menezes et al., 2013). With lower doses of N fertilization, there is a greater UEN (Cox and Cherney, 2001), because in these conditions there is a greater remobilization of N from vegetative organs to the ear (Uhart and Andrade, 1995). In clay soil it was higher than the UEN sandy soil, probably because clays for their negative charges retain more ammonium ion (Salgado et al., 2001). In treatment with high doses of N (300 and 425 kg N ha-1) N use efficiency it was significantly reduced due to the additional N extracted did not contribute significantly to increased production of dry matter (Table 3). Low values in the UEN found with higher doses of N indicate a potential increase in the risk of groundwater pollution by nitrates (Cox et al., 1993). SBU adjusted to a quadratic model, with coefficients of determination of 0.98 to 0.99.

Apparent recovery of N

The RAN represents the percentage of nitrogen applied as fertilizer, which is extracted by aerial or crop harvested and used as an indicator of the availability of N (Zemenchik and Albrecht, 2002). The fertilization rate of 50 kg ha-1, in both obtuvienon a RAN, statistically higher than the other treatments, most RAN was in clay soil with 363% soil while in sandy soil RAN was 157 (Figure 2), however at higher levels of fertilization decreases as the RAN requirements crop N exceed (Cogger et al., 2001).

Figure 2 Apparent recovery of nitrogen in different doses of N fertilization on clay and sandy. 

The determination of these indices can help reduce application rates of nitrogen fertilization carried out in the cultivation of forage maize. RAN values, depending on the dose of N is adjusted to a quadratic model, with coefficients of determination of from 0.82 to 0.97.


Efficient use of nitrogen and the apparent nitrogen recovery are affected by soil texture and fertilization. The highest values in the efficient use of nitrogen and the apparent nitrogen recovery were higher in the clayey soil. With the lowest dose of fertilization (50 kg ha-1), the largest amount of N recovered, with 29 kg MS kg N-1 in clay soil and 11 kg MS kg N-1 on the sandy, the apparent recovery It exceeds 56% nitrogen in the soil of loamy sandy texture to texture. The values in the efficient use of nitrogen and the apparent nitrogen recovery, decrease with increasing fertilization. To prevent nitrogen loss without reducing biomass production in forage maize under the conditions of this study we recommend avoiding higher doses at 50 kg N ha-1.

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Received: October 2015; Accepted: March 2016

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