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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Nitrate Leaching under Furrow Irrigation as Affected by Crop Sequence and Tillage


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 1, p. 204-210
    Received: Aug 23, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. B. D. Meek ,
  2. D. L. Carter,
  3. D. T. Westermann,
  4. J. L. Wright and
  5. R. E. Peckenpaugh
  1. USDA-ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit, 3793 N 3600 E, Kimberly, ID 83341



The potential for NO3-N leaching after alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in irrigated crop production depends on cropping sequence and tillage practices. A 2-yr field experiment in south-central Idaho compared the NO3-N leached following alfalfa of a conventional tillage bean-bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) rotation with a silage corn (Zea mays L.)-winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rotation in a conventional tillage or no-till system. Nitrate leaching was determined by: (i) sampling the soil solution below the root zone (1.2 and 1.5 m) using ceramic-tipped samplers and calculating the N movement from the water balance, and (ii) measuring the change in soil NO3-N at 1.35 to 4.5 m from soil samples taken in the fall and spring to 4.5 m. During the second growing season, average soil solution NO3-N concentrations (below the root zone) were 28, 4, and 10 mg L−1 for the bean-bean, corn-wheat no-till, and corn-wheat tilled treatments, respectively. The soil NO3-N in 1.35 to 3.3 m at the end of the study was 80 kg N ha−1 higher for the bean-bean treatment than for the corn-wheat treatments. The NO3-N that moved below 1.35 m during the 2 yr was 53 kg ha−1 higher for the bean-bean than for the corn-wheat treatments. The soil NO3-N in the 1.35 to 3.3 m depth after 2 yr was 21 kg ha−1 higher for the corn-wheat under conventional tillage than under the no-till system.

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