Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content in maize dry biomass under the effect of different levels of mineral fertilization

L. Nenova*, M. Benkova, Ts. Simeonova, I. Atanassova

Institute of Soil Science, Agrotechnologies and Plant Protection “N. Pouskarov”, 7 Shosse Bankya str., 1331 Sofia, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 20 August 2019; accepted for publication 8 November 2019)

Abstract. The aim of the study was to assess the influence of different fertilizer doses on the content of macroelements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) in dry biomass and grain of maize during the 2016 – 2018 period. A field experiment with fertilization of maize was carried out on Alluvial-meadow soil (Fluvisol) in the region of Tsalapitsa village, near Plovdiv. Three variants of mineral fertilization were studied V2 (N15P10K0), V3 (N20P15K0) and V4 (N25P20K0), and a control variant V1 (N0P0K0) – without fertilization. It was established that N% content in maize dry biomass was affected significantly by the variants of fertilization (18% of the variance). Significant differences (P≤0.05) between the control variant and all the variants of fertilization were established. Increasing the fertilizer dose, nitrogen content in dry biomass increased, too. The highest was the average content of nitrogen in maize leaves (0.94%), followed by the cobs (0.71%) and the lowest was the content in the stems (0.58%). Phosphorus and potassium content of dry biomass were affected significantly by the year of the study (10% and 9% of the variance, respectively). At the 7-8th leaf growth stage of maize, the highest nutrients content (N, P, K) in dry biomass were reported. With aging of plants the nutrient content in their biomass decreased. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content in maize grain was significantly affected by the year of the experiment. Mineral fertilization had impact mostly on the nitrogen content of the grain, which was the highest in V3 variant, accepted as optimal – 0.66% on average.