Soil nitrogen and nitrogen-use efficiency under long-term no-till practice

Dalal, Ram C., Wang, Weijin, Allen, Diane E., Reeves, Steven and Menzies, Neal W. (2011) Soil nitrogen and nitrogen-use efficiency under long-term no-till practice. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 75 6: 2251-2261. doi:10.2136/sssaj2010.0398

Author Dalal, Ram C.
Wang, Weijin
Allen, Diane E.
Reeves, Steven
Menzies, Neal W.
Title Soil nitrogen and nitrogen-use efficiency under long-term no-till practice
Journal name Soil Science Society of America Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0361-5995
Publication date 2011-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2136/sssaj2010.0398
Volume 75
Issue 6
Start page 2251
End page 2261
Total pages 11
Place of publication Madison, WI, United States
Publisher Soil Science Society of America
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Land-use change from perennial grasslands to cultivated croplands leads to reduced soil organic C (SOC) and total N. Among other factors, introduction of annual crops and soil disturbance by tillage may account for reduced amounts of SOC and total N. However, agricultural practices of no-till and N fertilizer application may maintain soil N in cropped soils. We measured soil N changes and N-use efficiency in a field experiment initiated in 1968, consisting of completely randomized tillage practices (conventional mechanical till [CT], and no-till [NT]), crop residue management (residue burned [RB], and residue retained [RR]), and N fertilization (0, 30, and 90 kg N ha−1) on a Vertisol (Ustic Pellusert) over 40 yr. Crops grown were mainly wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) except for five barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) crops early in the experiment. Significant effects of treatments on soil total N were primarily confined to the top 0.1-m depth. Soil total N exponentially declined in all treatments even though apparent fertilizer N recoveries during this period (1969–2008) were only 46 and 59% of N applied at 90 and 30 kg N ha−1, respectively. Mineral N in the soil profile (0–1.2 m) ranged from 68 to 496 kg N ha−1. Nitrogen-use efficiency was similar (P = 0.13) under CT and NT in this Vertisol. However, crop residue retention and a low rate of N application had greater N-use efficiency (35–40%) than RB and a high rate of N application (21–25%) under the annual cereal grain cropping system. If perennial grasslands are considered ecological benchmarks for agricultural sustainability, primarily through large root biomass that utilizes water and nutrients efficiently, then the challenge remains to develop cropping systems that successfully mimic grassland ecosystems.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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