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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1337-1347
    Received: Dec 7, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): jromanya@ub.edu
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Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks and Nitrogen Mineralization in Organically Managed Soils Amended with Composted Manures

  1. Joan Romanyà *a,
  2. Noèlia Arcoa,
  3. Ignasi Solà-Moralesa,
  4. Laura Armengotb and
  5. Francesc Xavier Sansb
  1. a Departament de Productes Naturals, Biologia Vegetal i Edafologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII s/n, Barcelona, E-08028, Spain
    b Departament de Biologia Vegetal, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, Barcelona, E-08028, Spain. Assigned to Associate Editor Myrna Simpson


The use of composted manures and of legumes in crop rotations may control the quality and quantity of soil organic matter and may affect nutrient retention and recycling. We studied soil organic C and N stocks and N mineralization in organically and conventionally managed dryland arable soils. We selected 13 extensive organic fields managed organically for 10 yr or more as well as adjacent fields managed conventionally. Organic farmers applied composted manures ranging from 0 to 1380 kg C ha−1 yr−1 and incorporated legumes in crop rotations. In contrast, conventional farmers applied fresh manures combined with slurries and/or mineral fertilizers ranging from 200 to 1900 kg C ha−1 yr−1 and practiced a cereal monoculture. Despite the fact that the application of organic C was similar in both farming systems, organically managed soils showed higher C and similar N content and lower bulk density than conventionally managed soils. Moreover, organic C stocks responded to the inputs of organic C in manures and to the presence of legumes only in organically managed soils. In contrast, stocks of organic N increased with the inputs of N or C in both farming systems. In organically managed soils, organic N stocks were less mineralizable than in conventional soils. However, N mineralization in organic soils was sensitive to the N fixation rates of legumes and to application rate and C/N ratio of the organic fertilizers.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.