Importance of Nitrogen in Barley

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Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients in growing a barley crop. Excess nitrogen leaching through soil is also a major contributor to groundwater pollution. Many factors and calculations are needed in balancing environmental concerns from excess nitrogen, with the need for enough nitrogen to reach the crop’s highest potential yield. There has been extensive research done to find the correct nitrogen application levels by universities and private organizations. Even with all this research there are still human decisions and differing professional and lab opinions that make this decision complex.
Nitrogen is the foundation for the growth of a crop of barley that will produce a sufficient yield. Applying fertilizer to the crop requires careful and necessary steps that will help determine the amount needed. Therefore step one, when determining nitrogen needs for the next growing year, it is important to find out how much nitrogen is left in the soil from the previous growing year. This process requires a soil sample test, which will give test results showing what type of nutrients are still left in the soil. “Step two, nitrogen is mineralized from the soil and made available for plant growth during the next growing season. The problem is there is no test for this so, in Southern Idaho, farmers use an estimation of around forty-five pounds acre” (Robertson and Stark). Step three, when following crops like sugar beets, potatoes, and onions, which have rapid residue decomposition, farmers do not have to use extra recommendations, for nitrogen, to break down those previous crop’s residue. However, if they have a crop that produces mature grain residue, which has low tissue nitrogen levels, farmers have to appl...

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...ptions in trying to figure the exact amount. Even though these problems cause confusion in the scientific studies, farmers still found other options to apply the acceptable amount of nitrogen needed for that crop to grow.

Works Cited
“Barley Nutrition.” March 2007. Web. 4 December 2013.
Mahler, Robert and Stephen Guy. “Spring Barley.” July 2007.
Web. 22 November 2013.
Mahler, Robert. “Idaho Fertilizer of Spring Barley Guide.” Web.
August 2007. 5 December 2013.
Robertson, Larry and Jeffery Stark. “Idaho Spring Barley Production Guide.” University of
Idaho. Web. August 2013. 3 December 2013.
Windes, Juliet, Kelly Olsen, and Don Obert. “Barley Production Guidelines.” University of
Idaho. Web. December 2013. 2 December 2013.
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