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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 6, p. 909-915
    Received: May 24, 1973
    Accepted: Aug 9, 1973

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Effect of Rainfall and Subsequent Drying on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Changes in a Dryland Fallow Loam1

  1. C. A. Campbell,
  2. V. O. Biederbeck,
  3. F. G. Warder and
  4. G. W. Robertson2



36Chloride placed at 15- or 30-cm depth in 15-cm diameter cylinders of fallow loam was leached to at least 50 cm during and immediately following rainfall > 1.75 cm. As the soil dried following rainfall 36Cl moved upwards. Nitrate content of leachates from a lysimeter experiment corroborated the leaching aspects of the 36Cl expcriment.

In the 0- to 2.5-cm segment of a second-year fallow loam which was sheltered from rainfall, moisture was below the wilting percentage and NO3−N and bacterial numbers declined as the soil gradually dried out. In the 2.5- to 15-cm segment, moisture was in the available range, yet moisture and NO3-N changes were small.

In unsheltered fallow loam, NO3-N production in the 0- to 2.5-cm depth was primarily a function of soil moisture change: ΔNO3−N = −0.55 − 1.11 ΔM, (r = −0.94**), and ΔNO3-N = −0.45 - 0.56 ΔM, (r = −0.81*) in the second- and first-year fallow, respectively; (M = % moisture and Δ = daily change). The increase in NO3-N during drying seemed to be more a result of upward movement than of nitrification. There was a negative linear relationship between ΔNO3-N and Δ bacteria in the 0- to 2.5-cm soil segment. Sodium bicarbonate soluble inorganic P (IP) generally exceeded NaHCO3 soluble organic P (OP). In second-year fallow, P was unaffected by environmental conditions. In first-year fallow ΔIP in the 0- to 2.5-cm segment was directly related to rainfall (r = 0.98**), to ΔM (r = 0.97**), and to Δ bacteria (r = 0.88**), and inversely related to ΔNO3-N (r = −0.76*).

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