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Increasing Mineral Nitrogen Content Effect on Maize Crop Yield Essay

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Updated: Apr 10th, 2022

Data Tables

Table 1: Maize Yield from Arable Soil.

Amount of Mineral Nitrogen Fertilization (kg per 100 acres) The yield of Maize (mg of dry mass per 100 acres per year) in Arable Soil
0 8.0
20 10.7
40 13.0
60 15.2
80 16.5
100 18.2
120 19.2
140 20.8
160 20.4
180 20.1

Table 2: Maize Yield from Nonarable Sandy Loam Soil.

Amount of Mineral Nitrogen Fertilization (kg per 100 acres) The yield of Maize (mg of dry mass per 100 acres per year) in Nonarable Sandy Loam Soil
0 15.6
20 17.0
40 18.2
60 19.3
80 20.0
100 20.9
120 21.2
140 21.8
160 21.1
180 20.1

Purpose

The objective of this lab was to establish the effect of increasing nitrogen fertilizer on the maize yield in arable and nonarable land.

Introduction

Nitrogen is the key limiting aspect in crop production (Blumenthal et al., 2008). Consequently, the application of nitrogen fertilizer usually causes considerable increases in crop yields (Sinclair & Rufty, 2012). Nitrogen mainly increases the forage biomass manufacture and grain yields (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, 2009). In addition, high nitrogen uptake improves the protein content of cereals. Nonarable land can be made productive by increasing amounts of nitrogen in it leading to high crop yields. However, to optimize the yield the nitrogen supply ought to agree with the nutrient requirements of the plant. In addition, crop needs vary according to the amount of water available in the soil and rainfall (Optimizing nitrogen use on the farm, n.d.).

Hypothesis

It was hypothesized that an increase in nitrogen content in the soil increased the maize yield per hectare in both arable and nonarable land.

Methods

Data was collected from the M.U.S.E link animation by clicking on the values on the number line and thereafter clicking on the illustrations (arable soil and nonarable sandy loam soil) to get the yield in milligrams of dry mass per 100 acres per year. The number line indicated the amount of mineral nitrogen fertilizer per 100 acres. The yields were recorded for each amount of mineral nitrogen fertilizer in arable and nonarable land. The quantities of mineral fertilizer ranged from 0 to 180 kg per 100 acres of land in both arable and nonarable land.

Results

It was observed that the maize yield in mg of dry mass per 100 acres per year increased as the amount of mineral nitrogen fertilization was increased. However, this increase in yield was only seen up to 140 kg of nitrogen fertilizer per 100 acres. The following tables summarized these outcomes.

Table 3: Maize Yield from Arable and Nonarable Soil.

Amount of Mineral Nitrogen Fertilization (kg per 100 acres) The yield of Maize (mg of dry mass per 100 acres per year) in Arable Soil The yield of Maize (mg of dry mass per 100 acres per year) in Nonarable Sandy Loam Soil
0 8.0 15.6
20 10.7 17.0
40 13.0 18.2
60 15.2 19.3
80 16.5 20.0
100 18.2 20.9
120 19.2 21.2
140 20.8 21.8
160 20.4 21.1
180 20.1 20.1

Discussion

The experiment gave the expected result that increasing the nitrogen content in the soil increased the crop yield of maize. However, it was realized that there was a threshold amount of nitrogen that increased crop yields. This was at 140 kg per 100 acres of land. It was seen that increasing the amount of nitrogen beyond this amount resulted in decreased crop yield. This decline was evident in arable and nonarable land. It was also realized that nonarable land produced relatively higher crop yields compared to arable land. This was contrary to the expectations since arable land was seen as the best for agricultural purposes. It was concluded that nitrogen was an essential factor for crop production.

References

Blumenthal, J. M., Baltensperger, D. D., Cassman, K. G., Mason, S. C., & Pavlista, A. D. (2008). Importance and effect of nitrogen on crop quality and health. In J. L. Hatfield and R. F. Follett (eds.), Nitrogen in the Environment: Sources, problems, and management (pp. 51-70). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Optimizing nitrogen use on the farm. (n.d.). Web.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. (2009). Nitrogen fertilization in crop production. Web.

Sinclair, T. R & Rufty, T. M. (2012). Nitrogen and water resources commonly limit crop yield increases, not necessarily plant genetics. Global Food Security, 1(2), 94-98. Web.

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