Controlled-release and stabilized fertilizers are equivalent options to split application of ammonium nitrate in a double maize-oats cropping system uri icon


  • The application of fertilizers as a topdressing in maize raises serious concerns because too much fertilizer is retained in the upper leaves, causing burning to the tissues. In this study, the use of a controlled-release and a stabilized fertilizer (with 3, 4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate) was compared with the application of a conventional fertilizer split into two equivalent applications in a forage maize-oats cropping system. In maize, 100 and 200 kg N ha−1 of different fertilizers were used in addition to an unfertilized control. The oat crop was not fertilized, since it served only as a winter catch crop. Maize dry matter (DM) yield increased significantly with N rate only in 2019, being the second growing season, with the control showing the lowest average value (7.1 t ha−1). The most fertilized treatments (200 kg N ha−1) gave the highest DM yields, ranging between 14.2 and 16.7 t ha−1, but with no significant differences between them. Oats had a relevant role as a catch crop recovering residual N that could have potentially been lost from the soil. Stalk nitrate concentration proved to be very sensitive to N fertilization (varying from 150.4 to 1945.6 mg kg−1 in 2018 and 494.9 to 1574.9 mg kg−1 in 2019), showing great potential as a tool of N management. These three fertilization strategies seem to be valid options that farmers can consider, after incorporating technical-economic information related to equipment suitability and the price of fertilizers.
  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Programme PT2020 for financial support to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020).

publication date

  • January 2022