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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soils, Agronomy & Environmental Quality

Soil Microbial Response to Nitrogen Rate and Placement and Barley Seeding Rate under No Till


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 103 No. 4, p. 1064-1071
    Received: July 28, 2010
    Accepted: May 2, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): newton.lupwayi@agr.gc.ca
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  1. Newton Z. Lupwayi ,
  2. George W. Claytona,
  3. John T. O'Donovanb and
  4. Cynthia A. Grantc
  1. aAgriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1
    bAgriculture & Agri-Food Canada, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
    cAgriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Box 1000A, Brandon, MB, Canada R7A 5Y3


Urea [(NH2)2CO] applied in the seed row can damage seedlings and affect soil microorganisms. A field study was conducted in five site-years to compare the effects of seed-placed and side-banded N applied to barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) at 0 to120 kg ha−1 on rhizosphere and bulk-soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and functional diversity (Hʹ), and to investigate if increasing barley seeding rate (200–400 seeds m−2) would modify the N effects. Nitrogen rate affected MBC in four and one site-years in barley rhizosphere and bulk soil, respectively. Two of the four responses in the rhizosphere were quadratic, and the other two were a linear decrease and a cubic response. The response in bulk soil was a linear decrease. One of the two responses in the rhizosphere depended on N placement. Responses of Hʹ to N rate, which were mostly cubic and depended on N placement, were observed in three and four site-years in the rhizosphere and bulk soil, respectively. Increasing barley seeding rate increased MBC in one and three site-years in the rhizosphere and bulk soil, respectively, and increased Hʹ in one and two site-years, respectively. In two of the three cases in bulk soil, seeding rate increased MBC only when N was banded. Banded N up to 60 kg ha−1 had minimal adverse effects on soil microorganisms, but only 30 kg N ha−1 or less of seed-placed N was relatively harmless. Increasing seeding rate did not usually alleviate the negative effects of seed-placed N applied at high rates.

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