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Tillage, Cropping Sequence, and Nitrogen Fertilization Influence Dryland Soil Nitrogen

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Management practices can reduce N losses through N leaching and N2O emissions (a greenhouse gas) by increasing soil N storage. The effects of tillage, cropping sequence, and N fertilization rate were studied on N contents in dryland crop biomass, surface residue, and soil at the 0- to 120-cm depth, and estimated N balance from 2006 to 2011 in eastern Montana. Treatments were no-till continuous malt barley (Hordeum vulgaris L.) (NTCB), no-till malt barley?pea (Pisum sativum L.) (NTB?P), no-till malt barley?fallow (NTB?F), and conventional till malt barley?fallow (CTB?F), each with 0 to 120 kg N ha?1. Biomass and surface residue N increased with increased N rate and were greater in NTB?P or NTCB than CTB?F and NTB?F in all years, except in 2006 and 2011. Soil total nitrogen (STN) at 0 to 60 cm decreased from 2006 to 2011 at 254 kg N ha?1 yr?1, regardless of treatments. At most depths, soil NH4?N content varied, but NO3?N content was greater in CTB?F than other cropping sequences. Estimated N balance was greater in NTB?P with 40 kg N ha?1 than other treatments. No-till continuous cropping increased biomass and surface residue N, but conventional till crop?fallow increased soil available N. Because of increased soil N storage and reduced N requirement to malt barley, NTB?P with 40 kg N ha?1 may reduce N loss due to leaching, volatilization, and denitrification compared to other treatments.
Upendra M. Sainju
Hordeum vulgare , Pisum sativum , arid lands , continuous cropping , conventional tillage , crop rotation , cropping sequence , denitrification , emissions , fallow , fertilizer rates , greenhouse gases , leaching , losses from soil , malting barley , nitrogen , nitrogen content , nitrogen fertilizers , nitrous oxide , no-tillage , nutrient content , peas , soil depth , soil nutrient balance , soil nutrients , volatilization , Montana
Agronomy Journal 2013 v.105 no.5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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