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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 4, p. 1239-1247
    OPEN ACCESS
     
    Received: Dec 17, 2008
    Published: July, 2010


    * Corresponding author(s): Dexter.Watts@ars.usda.gov
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doi:10.2136/sssaj2008.0415

Long-Term Tillage and Poultry Litter Impacts Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Mineralization and Fertility

  1. Dexter B. Watts *a,
  2. H. Allen Torberta,
  3. Stephen A. Priora and
  4. Gobena Hulukab
  1. a USDA-ARS, National Soil Dynamics Lab., 411 S. Donahue Dr. Auburn AL 36832
    b Dep. of Agronomy and Soils, 200 Funchess Hall, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL 36849

Abstract

Long-term tillage and manure application can alter a soil's ability to sequester nutrients and mineralize C and N. A laboratory incubation study (C and N mineralization) evaluated the long-term impact of poultry litter (PL) application (>10 yr) and tillage practice (>25 yr). Soil chemical properties (pH, total C, total N, and Mehlich-1 extractable P, K, Ca, and Mg) were also assessed. Soil was collected (0–5-, 5–10-, and 10–20-cm depths) from continuous soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and corn (Zea mays L.) systems managed under conventional tillage (CT) or no-till (NT) with either PL or inorganic fertilizer (IF) applications. The study was located in northeast Alabama on a Hartsells fine sandy loam (a fine-loamy, siliceous, subactive, thermic Typic Hapludult). Poultry litter and NT increased soil nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, and Mg), primarily at the 0- to 5-cm depth. No-till concentrated nutrients near the soil surface as opposed to the more even distribution seen under CT. The NT-PL treatment had higher soil C for corn and soybean (2.25 and 1.83 g kg−1 C, respectively), followed by NT-IF (1.73 and 1.11 g kg−1 C, respectively). Carbon and N mineralization was higher at the 0- to 5-cm depth for NT and CT compared with lower depths. Long-term PL application increased C and N mineralization more than IF. As depth increased, more C and N mineralization occurred under CT due to plow layer mixing. Results indicated that long-term tillage with PL application can increase soil C and N mineralization, nutrient retention, and organic matter.

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