Evaluation of Nitrogen Uptake and Productivity of Maize Cultivars (Zea mays L.) under Kermanshah Climate Condition

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Natural Resources Campus, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Plant Breeding Department, Kermanshah Agricultural and Natural Resources and Education Center, Kermanshah, Iran


Nitrogen (N) is one of the main limiting factors in agroecosystems all around the world. However, high application rates of N fertilizers would led to strong environmental consequences. Reduction of N fertilizers consumption decreases production costs and environmental pollution. Therefore, we need to be enhance N efficiency due to the high N fertilizer cost and required measures to prevent the waste of N. Cultivation of diverse crop cultivars with higher resources absorption and utilization efficiency is one of the major approach in the sustainable agriculture that would led to effective use of natural and chemical inputs and reduce significantly the environmental risks. Kermanshah province is one of the maize production poles in Iran. In this province large amounts of N fertilizers annually consumes in the maize agroecosystem. Therefore, the aims of the present study were evaluating N uptake and utilization efficiency, and finally N use efficiency in the maize agroecosystem of Kermanshah

Materials and methods
A split plot experiment was carried out based on Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with four replications at the Campus of Agriculture and Natural Resources Field at Razi University at 2014. Treatments were four levels of N fertilizer rate (40, 70, 100 and 140 percent of the maize demand to N which were 138, 238, 350 and 483 kg ha-1 urea) as main plots and three maize cultivars including SC-704, BC-678 and Simon as sub plots. Biomass of nitrogen at anthesis and maturity phases was measured by Kjeldahl method. Then, N uptake and utilization efficiency, and nitrogen use efficiency were calculated. Data analysis was done by SAS software (Ver 9.4) and means comparison were tested by LSD at 5% level.

Results and Discussion
The results showed that by increasing of N fertilizer rate from 40 to 140 percent of maize demand, amount of biomass N at anthesis and maturity phases changed from 1.2 to 1.1 percent, and 1.1 to 1.5 percent, respectively. By rising of N fertilizer rate from 40 to 140 percent of maize demand, total dry matter yield and grain yield improved about 58 and 63 percent, respectively. Grain yield of Simon cv was higher than other cultivars. Simon cv. had maximum grain yield in the N fertilizer level of 140 % and this increase was observed in 100% N in SC-704 and BC-678 cultivars %. The N utilization efficiency and N use efficiency were also different among maize cultivars. The highest N uptake efficiency was related to SC-704 cv. Moreover, Simon cultivar had the highest N utilization efficiency (38.1 g kg-1) and N use efficiency (31.3 g kg-1). The lowest N utilization efficiency (32.6 g kg-1) and N use efficiency (26.8 g kg-1) were related to BC-678 cv. Our results also indicated that N fertilizer rate significantly had been affected on N uptake efficiency, N utilization efficiency, and N use efficiency. Increased N fertilizer rate from 40 to 70 percent of maize demand, improved N uptake efficiency and N use efficiency while these measured features decreased by more rising of N fertilizer rate from 70 to 140 percent. N utilization efficiency decreased about 22 percent (from 38.8 to 30.2 g kg-1) with increased N fertilizer rate from 70% to 140% of maize demand. The highest N utilization efficiency was 30.2 g kg-1 that was due to the fertilizer level of 40 percent and the lowest N utilization efficiency was 17.6 g kg-1 which was gained through fertilizer level of 140 percent for SC-704 cv.

The results of this study indicated that more traits in different maize cultivars such as grain yield have been improved by increased N fertilizer rate. But, evaluation of traits related to resources use efficiency showed that N use efficiency reduced by rising of N fertilizer rate for all maize cultivars. Therefore, from ecological viewpoint it can be concluded that excessive N fertilizer consumption not only did not improve productivity in the maize agroecosystems but also increased environmental hazard dramatically.


Alfred, E.H., Johnston, M., Sullivanc, J.N.O., and Polomad, S. 2000. Nitrogen use efficiency of taro and sweet potato in the humid lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 79: 21-280.
Asadi, G.A., Momen, A., Nurzadeh Namaghi, M., and Khorramdel, S. 2013. Effects of organic and chemical fertilizer rates on nitrogen efficiency indices of isabgol (Plantago ovata Forsk.). Journal of Agroecology 5: 273-382. (In Persian with English Summary)
Cassman, K.G., Dobermann, A., Walters, D.T., and Yang, H. 2003. Meeting cereal demand while protecting natural resources and improving environmental quality. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 28: 315-358.
Chen, J., and Dai, J. 1996. Effect of drought on photosynthesis and grain yield of corn hybrid with different drought tolerance. Acta Agronomica Sinica 22: 757-762.
Cox, W.J., and Cherney, D.J. 2001. Row spacing, plant density and nitrogen effects on corn silage. Agronomy Journal 93: 597- 607.
Edalat, M., Kazemeini, A., and Ghadiri, H. 2008. Effect of irrigation regimes and nitrogen fertilizer on maize grain yield and yield components. 10th Iranian Plant Breeding and Agronomy Congress. 18th-20th Aug., Karaj. Iran p. 329. (In Persian)
Emami, A. 1996. Plant Analysis Methods. Iranian Plant and Water Research Center. No. 928 (In Persian)
Farahmand, A.R., Fardad, H., Liaghat, A., and Kashi, A. 2006. The effect of water and nitrogen amounts on quantity and quality of tomato under deficit irrigation. Iranian Journal of Agriculture Science 37: 403-412. (In Persian with English Summary)
Girardin, P., Tollenaar, M.A.D., and Muldoon, J. 1987. Temporary N starvation in maize (Zea mays L.): effects on development, dry matter accumulation and grain yield. Agronomy Journal 7: 289-296.
Greef, J.M. 1994. Productivity of maize (Zea mays L.) in relation to morphological physiological characteristics under varying amounts of nitrogen supply. Crop Science 172: 317-326.
Guarda, G., Padovan, S., and Delogu, G. 2004. Grain yield, nitrogen use efficiency and baking quality of old and modern Italian bread- wheat cultivars grown at different nitrogen levels. European. Journal of Agronomy 21: 181-192.
Hamdallah, G. 2000. Soil fertility management: the need for new concepts in the region. A Paper Presented at Regional Workshop on Soil Fertility Management through Farmer Field Schools in the Near East, Amman, Jordan.
Hosseini, R., Galeshi, S., Soltani, A., Kalateh, M., and Zahed, M. 2013. The effect of nitrogen rate on nitrogen use efficiency index in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 11: 300-306. (In Persian with English Summary)
Jafariani, M., Beheshti, A.R., and Taheri, G. 2010. Evaluation of nitrogen efficiency on grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) genotypes. Journal of Agroecology 2: 502-511. (In Persian with English Summary)
Kaur, A., Bedi, S., Gill, G.K., and Kumar, M. 2012. Effect of nitrogen fertilizers on radiation use efficiency, crop growth and yield in some maize (Zea mays L) genotypes. Maydica Electronic Publication 57: 75-82.
Kazempour, S., and Tajbakhsh, M. 2002. Effect of some anti-transparent on vegetative characteristics, yield and yield parameters of corn under limited irrigation. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 33: 205-211. (In Persian with English Summary)
Kelly, T.C., Lu, Y., and Teasdale, J.J. 1996. Economic-environmental tradeoffs among alternative crop rotation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 60: 17-28.
Koocheki, A., and Sarmadnia, G.H. 2008. Crop Physiology. Jahad-e-Daneshgahi Mashhad Press. Mashhad, Iran. (In Persian)
Koocheki, A., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Moradi, R., and Alizadeh, Y. 2015. Evaluation of yield and nitrogen use efficiency of maize and cotton intercropping under different nitrogen levels. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 13: 1-13. (In Persian with English Summary)
Lack, S., Naderi, A., Siadat, S., Ayenehband, A., and Noormohammadi, G. 2006. Effect of different levels of nitrogen and plant density on grain yield, its components and water use efficiency in maize (Zea mays L.) cv. SC. 704 under different moisture conditions in Khuzestan. Iranian Journal of Crop Sciences 8: 153-170. (In Persian with English Summary)
Majidian, M., Ghalavand, A., Kamgar haghighi, A.A., and Karimian, N. 2008. Effects of water stress, nitrogen fertilizer, and manure on chlorophyll meter reading, yield and yield components of grain corn (Single Cross 704). Iranian Journal of Crop Sciences 10(3): 303-330. (In Persian with English Summary)
MJA. 2014. Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture of Iran. Iran annual agricultural statistics; www.maj.ir. (In Persian)
Moles, D.J., Rangai, S.S., Bourke, R.M., and Kasamani, C.T. 1984. Fertilizer response of Taro in Papua New Guinea. In: S. Chandra (Ed), Edible Aroids. Clarendon Press, Oxford, Pp: 64-71.
Moll, R.H., Kamprath, E.J., and Jackson, W.A. 1982. Analysis and interpretation of factors which contribute to efficiency of nitrogen utilization. Agronomy Journal 74: 562-564.
Nemati, A., Sadeghi, M., Seyed Sharifi, R., Seyedi, N., Molaei, P., Hozoori, A., and Habibi, G. 2008. Effect of nitrogen fertilizer at different planting dates on yield and yield components of maize (Var. 404) in Ardabil. 10th Iranian Plant Breeding and Agronomy Congress. 18th-20th Aug., Karaj. Iran p. 323. (In Persian)
Noormohammadi, G., Siadat, A., and Kashani, A. 2005. Agronomy, Volume 1: Cereal. In: Ahvaz Shahid Chamran University (Ed.). Ahvaz, Iran. (In Persian)
Novoa, R., and Loomis, R.S. 1981. Nitrogen and plant production. Plant and Soil Science 58: 177-204.
Raun, W.R., and Johnson, G.V. 1995. Soil-plant buffering of inorganic nitrogen in continuous winter wheat. Agronomy Journal 87: 827-834.
Sadeghi, H., and Bahrani, M.J. 2002. Effects of plant density and N rates on morphological characteristics and protein contents of corn. Iranian Journal of Agriculture Science 33: 403-412. (In Persian with English Summary)
Saeed, M., Saifi, M.Y., Akhtar, M., and Mohsan, S. 1998. Differential genotypic response to drought stress in maize. Sarhad Journal of Agriculture Pakistan 14: 49-55.
Sepehr, E., Malakouti, M.J., and Nougolipour, F. 2008. Evaluation of phosphorus efficiency in Iranian cereal in a deficient calcareous soil. Euro Soil 2008 International Conference (Soil- Society-Environment. Book of Abstracts: pp. 182. In: W.E.H. for daily light partitioning in multispecies canopies. Agricultural Forest and Meteorology 101: 251-263.
Singh, V.P., and Arora. A. 2001. Intraspecific variation in nitrogen up-take and nitrogen utilization efficiency in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Agronomy Journal 186: 239-244.
Timsina, J., Singh, U., Badaruddin, M., Meisner C., and Amin, M.R. 2001. Cultivar, nitrogen, and water effects on productivity, and nitrogen – use efficiency and balance for rice – wheat sequences of Bangladesh. Field Crops Research 72: 43-161.
Ting, L.Z., Yang, J.Y., Drury, C.F., and Hoogenboom, G. 2015. Evaluation of the DSSAT-CSM for simulating yield and soil organic C and N of a long-term maize and wheat rotation experiment in the Loess Plateau of Northwestern China. Agricultural Systems 135: 90-104.
Uhart, S.A., and Andrade, F.H. 1995. Nitrogen and carbon accumulation and remobilization during grain filling in maize under different source/sink ratios. Crop Science 35: 183-190.
Uribelarrea, M., Moose, S.P., and Below, F.E. 2007. Divergent selection for grain protein affects nitrogen use in maize hybrids. Field Crops Research 100: 82-90.
Xie, W., Guang-huo, W., Qi-chun, Z., and Hai-chao, G. 2006. Effects of nitrogen fertilization strategies on nitrogen use efficiency in physiology, recovery, and agronomy and redistribution of dry matter accumulation and nitrogen accumulation in two typical rice cultivars in Zhejiang, China. Journal of Zhejiang Universal Science 8: 208-216.
Zebarth, B.J., Shcard, R.W., and Howblin, J. 2001. Influence of rate and timing of nitrogen fertilization application on yield and quality of hard red. Winter. Wheat Plant Science 72: 13-19.