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Title Soil sampling protocol reliably estimates preplant NO3 in SDI tomatoes
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Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), because it can precisely deliver nutrients close to plant roots, could lead to carefully determined applications of fertilizer to meet crop needs and less risk of nitrate (NO3-) leaching to groundwater. Appropriate fertilizer applications, however, depend on an accurate assessment of the spatial distribution of the main plant macronutrients (N, P and K) in the soil profile before planting. To develop nutrient sampling guidelines, we determined the spatial distributions of preplant nitrate (NO3-), bicarbonate extractable phosphorus (Olsen-P) and exchangeable potassium (K) in the top 20 inches (50 centimeters) of subsurface drip irrigated processing tomato fields in three of the main growing regions in the Central Valley of California. Nutrient distribution varied with depth (P and K), distance from the center of the bed (NO3-) and growing region (NO3- and K). No depletion of NO3-, Olsen-P or K in the root feeding areas close to the drip tape was detected. Preplant NO3- ranged considerably, from 45 to 438 pounds N per acre (50 to 491 kilograms/hectare), the higher levels in fields with consecutive crops of tomatoes. A sampling protocol that growers could use, developed from analysis of the distribution results, provided reliable estimates of preplant NO3- as well as P and K in all surveyed fields.

Lazcano, Cristina : C. Lazcano is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary and was previously Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis
Wade, Jordon
Graduate Student Researcher
Horwath, William R.
AES   Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry   Soil Biogeochemist
Stable isotope studies, soil organic matter dynamics, soil fertility, sustainable agriculture, water quality, plant-microbe interactions, soil microbial biomass, denitrification, residue decomposition, root turnover.
Burger, Martin : M. Burger is Associate Project Scientist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis.
Publication Date Oct 1, 2015
Date Added Dec 21, 2015
Copyright © The Regents of the University of California
Copyright Year 2015

Taking two or three cores in a few beds produces a reliable nutrient assessment that could avoid nitrogen surpluses and groundwater pollution.

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