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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 90 No. 2, p. 171-177
     
    Received: Jan 6, 1997
    Published: Mar, 1998


    * Corresponding author(s): carl_crozier@ncsu.edu
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doi:10.2134/agronj1998.00021962009000020009x

Tracing Nitrogen Movement in Corn Production Systems in the North Carolina Piedmont: A Nitrogen-15 Study

  1. Carl R. Crozier ,
  2. Larry D. King and
  3. Richard J. Volk
  1. Vernon G. James Res. & Ext. Ctr., 207 Research Station Rd., Plymouth, NC 27962

Abstract

Abstract

Legume cover crops have been studied in the southeastern USA, but there have been no 15N tracer studies comparing movement of legume N and fertilizer N for this region. Our study used l5N-enriched crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) (135 kg N ha−1) and either 15NH4NO3 or NH154NO3 (70 kg total N ha−1) to quantify N movement through soil inorganic and organic N pools and into corn (Zea mays L.). Clover N mineralized rapidly, with 45% of the initially applied N detectable as inorganic N at 18 d following incorporation. Rapid nitrification of enriched NH+4 occurred, but, since the soil NO-3 pool was larger in this treatment than in the enriched NO-3 treatment (presumably due to chance), the relative enrichment of the soil NO-3 pool was less than with the application of enriched NO-3. At anthesis, 25% of the N in corn had been derived from the NO-3 source, while only 11% had been derived from the NH+4 source (P < 0.05). At physiological maturity in 1990, the first growing season, 38 to 44% of each enriched source could be accounted for. By physiological maturity in 1991, 60% of the clover source but only 28 to 36% of the fertilizer sources could be accounted for. This study demonstrates the substantial amounts of endogenous soil N mineralization, inorganic N immobilization, and legume N persistence in these cropping systems.

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