Understanding the factors that influence soil and plant nitrogen (N) spatial variability may improve our ability to develop management systems that maximize productivity and minimize environmental hazards. The objective of this study was to determine the field (65 ha) scale spatial variability of N and δ15N in soil and corn (Zea mays). Soil, grain, and stover samples were collected from grids that ranged in size from 30 by 30 m to 60 by 60 m. Plant samples, collected following physiological maturity in 1995, were analyzed for total N and δ15N. Soil samples, collected prior to planting in the spring of 1995 and 1996, were analyzed for inorganic‐N, total N, and δ15N. All parameters showed strong spatial relationships. In an undrained portion of the field containing somewhat poorly and poorly drained soils there was a net loss of 95 kg N ha‐1, while in an adjacent area that was tile drained there was a net gain of 98 kg N ha‐1. Denitrification and N mineralization most likely were responsible for losses and gains, respectively. Differences between the N balances of these areas (193 kg N ha‐1) provide a relative measure of the impact of tile drainage on plant N availability and greenhouse gas production in a wet year.
Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
DOI of Published Version
Taylor and Francis
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Clay, D. E.; Chang, J.; Clay, S. A.; Ellsbury, m.; Carlson, C. G.; Malo, D. D.; Woodson, D.; and DeSttur, T., "Field Scale Variability of Nitrogen and δ15N in Soil and Plants" (1998). Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Faculty Publications. 214.