Polymer-coated urea maintains potato yields and reduces nitrous oxide emissions in a Minnesota Loamy Sand

Charles R. Hyatt, Rodney T. Venterea, Carl J. Rosen, Matthew McNearney, Melissa L. Wilson, Michael S. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Irrigated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) production requires large inputs of N, and therefore has high potential for N loss including emissions of N 2O. Two strategies for reducing N loss include split applications of conventional fertilizers, and single applications of polymer-coated urea (PCU), both of which aim to better match the timing of N availability with plant demand. The objective of this 3-yr study was to compare N2O emissions and potato yields following a conventional split application (CSA) using multiple additions of soluble fertilizers with single preplant applications of two different PCUs (PCU-1 and PCU-2) in a loamy sand in Minnesota. Each treatment received 270 kg of fertilizer N ha-1 per season. An unfertilized control treatment was included in 2 of 3 yr. Tuber yields did not vary among fertilizer treatments, but N2O emissions were significantly higher with CSA than PCU-1. During 3 consecutive yr, mean growing season emissions were 1.36, 0.83, and 1.13 kg N2O-N ha-1 with CSA, PCU-1, and PCU-2, respectively, compared with emissions of 0.79 and 0.42 kg N2O-N ha-1 in the control. The PCU-1 released N more slowly during in situ incubation than PCU-2, although differences in N 2O emitted by the two PCUs were not generally significant. Fertilizer-induced emissions were relatively low, ranging from 0.10 to 0.15% of applied N with PCU-1 up to 0.25 to 0.49% with CSA. These results show that N application strategies utilizing PCUs can maintain yields, reduce costs associated with split applications, and also reduce N2O emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


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