Quantifying the Nitrogen Contribution from Alfalfa to Soil and Two Succeeding Crops Using Nitrogen-15
- G. H. Harris and
- O. B. Hester
With the current interest in sustainable agricultural systems, the use of legumes in crop rotations to provide N to subsequent crops is increasing. The objective of this study was to quantify the N contribution from different alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) plant parts to a subsequent corn (Zea mays L.) crop, various soil fractions, and a 2nd yr spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) crop. The study was conducted at two field locations in Michigan, on a Capac loam (fineloamy, mixed, mesic, Aerie Ochraqualf) in East Lansing (EL) and on an Oshtemo sandy loam (coarse-loamy, mixed, mesic, Typic Hapludalf) at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners. Alfalfa shoots and roots/crowns labeled with 15N were applied separately to microplots in Fall 1985 and Spring 1986 at a rate equivalent to 112 kg N ha−1. Corn was harvested and soil was sampled from all microplots in Fall 1986 and analyzed for 15N. Corn
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