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Remediation/Restoration of Degraded Soil: II. Impact on Crop Production and Nitrogen Dynamics

Maysoon M. Mikha, Phillip W. Stahlman, Joseph G. Benjamin, Patrick W. Geier
Agronomy journal 2014 v.106 no.1 pp. 261-272
Avena sativa, Haplustolls, Panicum miliaceum subsp. miliaceum, Sorghum bicolor, Triticum aestivum, acid soils, application rate, cattle manure, conventional tillage, crop rotation, eroded soils, fertilizers, grain sorghum, grain yield, leaching, manure spreading, nitrogen, no-tillage, oats, remediation, risk, silt loam soils, soil profiles, urea, winter wheat, Kansas
The response of manure applications on calcareous eroded soils in the western United States is unlike the responses observed on acid soils in the eastern United States. The objectives of this study were to restore the productivity and evaluate N loss of eroded land influenced by tillage practices, N sources, and N rates. The study was initiated in 2006 on an Armo silt loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Entic Haplustolls) at the Agriculture Research Center, Hays, KS. Tillage practices were no-tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT). Nitrogen sources were beef manure (M); urea, as commercial fertilizer (F); and no-N control (C) at two rates, low (L) and high (H). The crop rotation was grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.), forage oat (Avena sativa L.), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), grain sorghum, proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.), and winter wheat. Grain yield (2006–2011) and soil inorganic nitrogen (SIN) at 0- to 120-cm depth were evaluated. Grain yields were not influenced by tillage practices, except in 2006 when NT had greater yields than CT. Manure addition increased grain yields compared with F and C treatments. Excess amounts of N and low productivity lead to leaching of the SIN down the soil profile with HF and HM. The LM exhibited less productivity and less SIN loss than HM treatment. Overall, M could be the N source that can improve the productivity of the eroded site. The benefits of increasing the productivity and the risk of N loss with HM need to be further addressed.