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How much do water deficits alter the nitrogen nutrition status of forage crops?

AuthorsDurand, Jean Louis; González-Dugo, Victoria ; Gastal, François
KeywordsWater deficit
Leaf water potential
Nitrogen nutrition index
Soil water content
Soil nitrogen flux
Tall fescue
Italian ryegrass
Issue DateNov-2010
CitationNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 88(2): 231-243 (2010)
AbstractWater deficits alter the nitrogen nutrition of crops. In grasslands, this has a major impact on both forage yield and nitrogen fluxes in the soil. It is important to assess the N balance in order to adjust fertilization to the expected needs of the crop and thus minimize any environmentally negative impacts of crops. Grassland species, including grasses, display a diverse ability to utilise soil resources. Nitrogen fluxes and the nitrogen absorption by grass swards of two species with contrasting rooting depths were computed using the appropriate module from the STICS simulation platform. In the case of the deep-rooted species, tall fescue, soil mineral N fluxes to the roots were very close to N uptake values, consistent with its nitrogen nutrition index being lower than one. In the case of the shallow-rooted species Italian ryegrass, there was a large excess in terms of N supply, which was also consistent with its non-limiting nitrogen nutrition index. In both species, and even when nitrogen demands for growth were fully satisfied, the nitrogen nutrition index was closely and linearly related to the soil mineral N flux to roots. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10705-009-9330-3
issn: 1385-1314
e-issn: 1573-0867
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