University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Rice production in Arkansas is one of the top three crop commodities in terms of cash receipts. Researchers and farmers report that nitrogen (N) needs to be managed according to a variety of factors with two important ones being soil and fertilizer type. The objectives of this experiment were to determine: 1) the degree to which floodwater-incorporated N applied as urea or as ammonium sulfate infiltrates intact cores (7.2-cm dia., 10-cm depth) containing DeWitt siltloam soil, and 2) the distribution of N during 12 h of ponding. Inorganic-N concentrations were analyzed at 2-cm depth intervals in cores following removal of the flood. Nitrogen from applied fertilizer was recovered as ammonium. Ammonium sulfate-N remained in the top 4 cm of soil with concentrations of 375 µg N g-1 in the surface 2 cm and 300 µg N g-1 at the 2 - 4 cm depth after 12 hr of ponding. At all depth intervals below 4 cm, ammonium sulfate-N remained below 30 µg N g-1. In contrast, after 12 h of ponding, N in soil receiving urea was 105 µg N g-1 in the top 2 cm and 173 µg N g-1 at 2-4 cm. At 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 cm, N was 109, 108, and 35 µg N g-1, respectively, after 12 h of ponding. These results demonstrate immediate and deeper movement of ammonium into silt loam soil receiving urea as compared to ammonium sulfate, demonstrating how the form of N in fertilizer affects its movement into the soil profile.