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Nitrogen Dynamics Affected by Management Practices in Croplands Transitioning from Conservation Reserve Program

Upendra M. Sainju, William B. Stevens, Thecan Caesar-TonThat, Cliff Montagne
Agronomy journal 2014 v.106 no.5 pp. 1677-1689
Conservation Reserve Program, Hordeum vulgare, Pisum sativum, ammonium nitrogen, conventional tillage, crop rotation, cropland, crops, fertilizer application, irrigated farming, irrigation, land use change, leaching, losses from soil, malt, malting barley, mineralization, nitrate nitrogen, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, no-tillage, peas, sandy loam soils, soil fertility, soil nutrient balance, soil nutrients, surface storage, North Dakota
Management practices are needed to reduce N losses from croplands converted from Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). We evaluated the effects of irrigation, tillage, cropping system, and N fertilization on surface residue N, soil total nitrogen (STN), NH₄–N, and NO₃–N at the 0- to 85-cm depth in a sandy loam from 2005 to 2011 in croplands converted from CRP in western North Dakota. Treatments were two irrigation practices (irrigated vs. non-irrigated) and six cropping systems (CRP, conventional till malt barley [Hordeum vulgaris L.] with nitrogen fertilizer [CTBN], conventional till malt barley without nitrogen fertilizer [CTBO], no-till malt barley–pea (Pisum sativum L.) with nitrogen fertilizer [NTB–P], no-till malt barley with nitrogen fertilizer [NTBN], and no-till malt barley without nitrogen fertilizer [NTBO]). Surface residue N was greater in non-irrigated CRP than irrigated and non-irrigated CTBN, CTBO, and NTBO and non-irrigated NTB–P. Soil total N at 0 to 10 cm was greater in irrigated CRP, but at 0 to 85 cm was greater in non-irrigated NTBN than irrigated CRP, CTBN, CTBO, and NTBO and non-irrigated NTB–P. Soil NH₄–N content at 0 to 20 cm was also greater in irrigated CRP than irrigated and non-irrigated CTBO, NTB–P, and NTBO. Soil NO₃–N at 0 to 85 cm was greater in NTB–P than CRP, CTBO, and NTBO. Because of increased soil N sequestration and NO₃–N level, irrigated NTB–P may be used to reduce soil N losses and optimize N availability compared to other treatments in croplands converted from CRP.