A conceptual model to estimate the nitrogen requirement of corn (Zea mays L.)
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The objectives of this work were to evaluate the vegetative parameters used to estimate crop N demand and to estimate the accuracy and precision of the conceptual model of fertilization using an error propagation method. Corn plants were collected throughout the entire crop life cycle to determine the fresh and dry weight of the aboveground biomass and roots, root index, plant height, and corn grain yield. Three experiments were conducted, two under field conditions and one under greenhouse conditions. In the first field experiment in 2002, three sites were selected. The first site was the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Agricultural Experiment Station Research Farm in which a Ships clay soil was used. The second site was a cooperative farmer's land on a Weswood silt loam soil in Burleson County. These first two sites used Pioneer 32R25 as the corn hybrid. The third site was also a Ships soil in the TAMU Farm, but Dekalb 687 was the corn variety. In 2003, the second experiment was on a Ships soil in the field of TAMU Farm, and the third experiment was conducted in a greenhouse using Ships and Weswood soil. No differences in the root index and harvest index were observed, even when the Dekalb 687 hybrid was included. Variations in plant N concentration, moisture content, and yield were noted, but followed predictable patterns with time over the season. These parameters were consistent throughout the entire life cycle of the crop. The linear relationship between the fresh weight of aboveground biomass and fresh weight of roots was R2 = 0.92, the moisture content of corn plants over time was fit to a second grade polynomial with R2 = 0.98, and plant N content had a close linear relationship (R2=0.90) with the total plant dry weight, including roots, at harvest. The accuracy of the conceptual model was low under field conditions (55%), but high under greenhouse conditions (90%). Precision of the conceptual model was low both in the field (194%) and the greenhouse (115%) conditions.
Lopez Collado, Catalino Jorge (2005). A conceptual model to estimate the nitrogen requirement of corn (Zea mays L.). Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from