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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Lentil Green Manure as Fallow Replacement in the Semiarid Northern Great Plains


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 89 No. 6, p. 867-874
    Received: Oct 14, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): jpikul@ngirl.ars.usda.gov
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  1. Joseph L. Pikul Jr. ,
  2. J. Kristian Aase and
  3. Verlan L. Cochran
  1. U SDA-ARS, Northern Grain Insects Res. Lab., 2923 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD 57006
    U SDA-ARS, 3793 North 3600 East, Kimberly, ID 83341
    U SDA-ARS, 1500 N. Central, Sidney, MT 59270



Green manures (GM) may offset inorganic N needs and improve soil quality. Study objectives were to determine effects of green manure on soil-N fertility, water use, soil quality, and yield of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). On two treatments, lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus cv. Indianhead) was green manured in a green manure-spring wheat rotation. Lentil was killed by disking(GMMF) or chemicals (GMCF). Additional treatments were annually cropped wheat( AW) in a mechanical fallow (MF) or chemical fallow (CF) sequence. No inorganic N was used on GMMF and GMCF. Experiments were started in 1991 on a Williams loam(fine-loamy, mixed Typic Argiboroll) near Culbertson, MT Green-manure treatments used 56 mm more water than fallow treatments when lentil was grown to lowerpod set. When lentil was killed at full bloom, there were no differences in water use among GM and fallow treatments. There were no differences among treatmens in soil water at wheat planting. Wheat yield was 25% less on GM than on MF and CF. Soil NO3-N (0–0.6 m) was 35% less on GM than MF and CF rotations. There were no differences in soil quality indicators of bulk density, organic C, pH, electrical conductivity, and deep NO3-N (0.6–1.8 m) among treatments after two cycles of GM. Potentially mineralizable N was 66% greater on GM treatments than on fallow treatments. Short-term results (5 yr) show that available N limited wheat production more than did soil water on the GM treatments. Soil improvement using green manures may require many additional cropping cycles.

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