Predicting soil nitrogen supply from soil properties.

Dessureault-Rompré, J., Zebarth, B.J., Burton, D.L., and Georgallas, A. (2015). "Predicting soil nitrogen supply from soil properties.", Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 95(1), pp. 63-75. doi : 10.4141/CJSS-2014-057  Access to full text

Abstract

Prediction functions based on simple kinetic models can be used to estimate soil N mineralization as an aid to improved fertilizer N management, but require long-term incubations to obtain the necessary parameters. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of predicting the mineralizable N parameters necessary to implement prediction functions and in addition to verify their efficiency in modeling soil N supply (SNS) over a growing season. To implement a prediction function based on a first-order (F) kinetic model, a regression equation was developed using a data base of 92 soils, which accounted for 65% of the variance in potentially mineralizable N (N0 ) using soil total N (STN) and Pool I, a labile mineralizable N pool. However, the F prediction function did not provide satisfactory prediction (R2 =0.17–0.18) of SNS when compared with a field-based measure of SNS (PASNS) if values of N0 were predicted from the regression equation. We also examined a two-pool zero- plus first-order (ZF) prediction function. A regression model was developed including soil organic C and Pool I and explained 66% of the variance in kS , the rate constant of the zero-order pool. In addition, a regression equation was developed which explained 86% of the variance in the size of the first-order pool, NL , from Pool I. The ZF prediction function provided satisfactory prediction of SNS (R2 =0.41–0.49) using both measured and predicted values of kS and NL . This study demonstrated a simple prediction function can be used to estimate SNS over a growing season where the mineralizable N parameters are predicted from simple soil properties using regression equations.

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