Corn and soybean’s season-long in-situ nitrogen mineralization in drained and undrained soils

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Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, ISSN: 1385-1314, Vol: 107, Issue: 1, Page: 33-47

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Fabián G. Fernández; Karina P. Fabrizzi; Seth L. Naeve
Springer Nature
Agricultural and Biological Sciences
article description
Many factors influence nitrogen (N) mineralization in agricultural soils. Our objective was to quantify cumulative (season-long) net N mineralization in corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr] in a corn-soybean rotation under different N and soil drainage management (drained and undrained) in poorly-drained soils. In-situ incubations were conducted over two growing seasons using a sequential core-sampling technique to measure net N mineralization. Differential drainage was imposed three-years before this study, in which time, the soil lost 2.2 Mg C ha yearand 0.14 Mg N ha yeardue to tile-drainage. Overall greater total soil organic carbon (TOC) and total soil nitrogen (TN) in the undrained soil resulted in 2.7 times greater net N mineralization compared to the drained soil in the unfertilized control (0N), but the effect of drainage was inconsistent across years with N fertilization. Across all variables, soils mineralized 2.89% of TN in soybean residue and 0.94% of TN in corn residue. Nitrogen fertilization increased mineralization rate, as high as 9.6 kg N ha day, compared to <2.2 kg N ha dayfor 0N. Overall, net N mineralization was 3.4 times greater with N fertilizer than the 0N, but fertilization made mineralization more variable. The impact of fertilization on boosting mineralization under differential soil drainage needs further refinement if we are to improve decision-making tools for N application based on soil mineralization predictions.