Context: Success of the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) is dependent on a range of soil factors including pH and soil organic carbon (OC) content. Aims: This study identified the effect of soil properties and moisture content at the time of DMPP application on the efficiency of DMPP and soil mineral N concentrations.
Methods: Soil was collected from paired paddocks with contrasting management, cropping or pasture across three sites. Soil samples were pre-incubated for 7 days with moist (-85 kPa) or air dried soil to simulate sowing into soil with moisture equivalents of post seasonal break or dry sowing. Urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) was applied with and without DMPP to all soils.
Key results: DMPP inhibited nitrification in all soils, although decreased inhibitory effectiveness was observed in acidic soils compared to neutral soils. Inhibition efficacy on acidic soils was improved when DMPP was applied to dry rather than wet soils. Neutral soils did not observe the same soil moisture effect having similar inhibition efficiency of DMPP observed between dry and wet soil application. Nitrogen fertilisers applied to dry soils nitrified at a greater rate than when applied to wet soils. DMPP decreased the ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB) population while the ammonia oxidising archaea (AOA) amoA gene copy numbers were unaffected.
Conclusions: This study shows that the lower soil pH and high OC contents can reduce the efficacy of DMPP.
Implications: When using DMPP in Australian broad acre agriculture, knowledge of soil properties including soil pH will determine if application of DMPP is suitable for use before or after a seasonal break rainfall event.