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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Release of Nitrogen from Crimson Clover Residue under Two Tillage Systems1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 50 No. 5, p. 1251-1254
    Received: Dec 11, 1985

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  1. D. O. Wilson and
  2. W. L. Hargrove2



The N contained in winter cover crops (particularly legumes) is a potentially important source of N for succeeding crops. The purpose of this study was to determine N release from crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) residue under no-tillage and conventional tillage conditions. Residues contained in nylon mesh (53 µm) bags placed either on the surface of no-tillage plots or buried at plowlayer depth in conventional tillage plots were removed for dry matter, C, and N determinations at 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 weeks after placement in mid-May. The rate of N disappearance was more rapid under conventional than no-tillage conditions. The percentage of initial residue N remaining at 4 and 16 weeks under conventional tillage conditions was 40 and 31, respectively. The corresponding values for no-tillage were 63 and 36% at 4 and 16 weeks. The C/N ratio of the residue remained relatively unchanged over the 16-week period under no-tillage conditions. However, under conventional tillage conditions, the C/N ratio declined from 15.9 to 12.7. Under humid, subtropical conditions, release of N from both surface and buried residue from winter legumes, is sufficiently rapid to be of significant benefit to the summer crop.

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