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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 6, p. 2038-2045
    Received: Jan 3, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): lcboggs@morris.ars.usda.gov
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Soil Nitrogen Mineralization Influenced by Crop Rotation and Nitrogen Fertilization

  1. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs *a,
  2. Joseph L. Pikulb,
  3. Merle F. Vigilc and
  4. Walter E. Riedellb
  1. a USDA-ARS, North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab., Morris, MN 56267 USA
    b USDA-ARS, Northern Grains Insect Research Lab., Brookings, SD 57006 USA
    c USDA-ARS, Central Plains Resources Management Research Lab., Akron, CO 80720-0400 USA


An estimate of soil mineralizable N is needed to determine crop needs for N fertilizer. The objective of this research was to estimate soil net N mineralization in soils maintained in continuous corn (Zea mays L.) (CC), corn–soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] (CS), and corn–soybean–wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)/alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)–alfalfa (CSWA) rotations that have been managed since 1990 with zero N (0N), low N (LN), and high N (HN) fertilization. Soil samples were taken from 0- to 20-cm depth in plots planted to corn in 1998. In order to produce more realistic time-series data of net N mineralization, soils were incubated in filtration units in a variable-temperature incubator (VTI) that mimicked field soil temperatures under a growing corn canopy. Rotation and N fertilization significantly affected net N mineralization in soil samples. Cumulative net N mineralized in a 189-d field temperature incubation averaged 133 ± 6 kg ha−1 in CC, 142 ± 5 kg ha−1 in CS, and 189 ± 5 kg ha−1 in CSWA. Across rotations, average net N mineralized was 166 ± 9 kg ha−1 in 0N plots, 147 ± 10 kg ha−1 in LN plots, and 152 ± 10 kg ha−1 in HN plots. Inclusion of a legume, particularly alfalfa, in the rotation increased net N mineralized. Generally, more net N was mineralized from plots receiving no fertilizer N than from soil with a history of N fertilization. Variable-temperature incubation produced realistic time-series data with low sample variability.

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