Evaluation of sap nitrate for in-season assessment of crop nitrogen status

Researcher: Dale Tomasiewicz, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Outlook SK

Project Code: CARP SCDC/ADF 2015.3

Final Report: July 2020

Summary: Fertigation is the application of fertilizer in irrigation water. This practice offers producers a means to maximize their fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency in high-yield canola production. The capability to fertigate is being established on increasing number of acres in the Canadian Prairies each year, but the effectiveness of fertigation as a nitrogen application option for cereals and oilseeds in Canada has not been well-established. Researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada initiated a three-year study in 2017 to assess effectiveness of in-season application of nitrogen fertilizer by fertigation compared to side-banding during seeding operations. Results show that canola yields were strongly related to total nitrogen applied (side-banded + fertigated). Nitrogen fertilizer applied through fertigation had a similar overall effect on canola yield and seed quality parameters as side-banded urea at planting on a pound-for-pound of nitrogen basis. Application of up to 70 kg/ha of fertilizer nitrogen can be delayed and applied later in the growing season through fertigation without loss of fertilizer efficacy. Delaying a portion of the nitrogen application through fertigation can increase flexibility of nitrogen fertilizer application timing, but this practice did not provide any incremental benefit to canola yield or quality relative to side banding all the nitrogen.

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