Models play an important role in optimizing fertilizer use in agriculture to maintain sustainable crop production and to minimize the risk to the environment. In this study, we present a new Simulation Model for Crop Response to Nitrogen fertilizer (SMCR_N). The SMCR_N model, based on the recently developed model EU-Rotate_N for the N-economies of a wide range of crops and cropping systems, includes new modules for the estimation of N in the roots and an associated treatment of the recovery of soil mineral N by crops, for the reduction of growth rates by excessive fertilizer-N, and for the N mineralization from soil organic matter. The validity of the model was tested against the results from 32 multi-level fertilizer experiments on 16 different crop species. For this exercise none of the coefficients or parameters in the model was adjusted to improve the agreement between measurement and simulation. Over the practical range of fertilizer-N levels model predictions were, with few exceptions, in good agreement with measurements of crop dry weight (excluding fibrous roots) and its %N. The model considered that the entire reduction of soil inorganic N during growth was due to the sum of nitrate leaching, retention of N in fibrous roots and N uptake by the rest of the plant. The good agreement between the measured and simulated uptakes suggests that in this arable soil, losses of N from other soil processes were small. At high levels of fertilizer-N yields were dominated by the negative osmotic effect of fertilizer-N and model predictions for some crops were poor. However, the predictions were significantly improved by using a different value for the coefficient defining the osmotic effect for saline sensitive crops. The developed model SMCR_N uses generally readily available inputs, and is more mechanistic than most agronomic models and thus has the potential to be used as a tool for optimizing fertilizer practice
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