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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2016, Article ID 8969513, 12 pages
Research Article

Environmentally Smart Nitrogen Performance in Northern Great Plains’ Spring Wheat Production Systems

Southwest Research & Extension Center, University of Idaho, 29603 U of I Lane, Parma, ID 83660-6699, USA

Received 29 October 2015; Accepted 3 March 2016

Academic Editor: Glaciela Kaschuk

Copyright © 2016 Olga S. Walsh and Kefyalew Girma. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Experiments were conducted in Montana to evaluate Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN) as a nitrogen (N) source in wheat. Plots were arranged in a split-plot design with ESN, urea, and a 50%-50% urea-ESN blend at low, medium, and high at-seeding N rates in the subplot, with four replications. Measurements included grain yield (GY), protein (GP), and N uptake (GNU). A partial budget economic analysis was performed to assess the net benefits of the three sources. Average GY varied from 1816 to 5583 kg ha−1 and grain protein (GP) content ranged from 9.1 to 17.3% among site-years. Urea, ESN, and the blend resulted in higher GYs at 3, 2, and 2 site-years out of 8 evaluated site-years, respectively. Topdressing N improved GY for all sources. No trend in GP associated with N source was observed. With GP-adjusted revenue, farmer would not recover investment costs from ESN or blend compared with urea. With ESN costing consistently more than urea per unit of N, we recommend urea as N source for spring wheat in Northern Great Plains.