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Soil pH and Exchangeable Cation Responses to Tillage and Fertilizer in Dryland Cropping Systems
- Reeves, Justin L., Liebig, Mark A.
- Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2016 v.47 no.21 pp. 2396-2404
- Helianthus annuus, Triticum aestivum, arid lands, cation exchange capacity, continuous cropping, crop rotation, fallow, fertilizer rates, long term effects, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, soil acidification, soil fertility, soil pH, spring, spring wheat, tillage, Great Plains region, North America
- Long-term use of nitrogen (N) fertilizers can lead to fertility-lowering soil chemical changes. To examine this in geologically young soils in the northern Great Plains of North America, we present near-surface (0–7.6 cm) soil chemistry data from 16 years of two crop rotations: continuous crop (CC; spring wheat [ Triticum aestivum L.]—winter wheat [ T. aestivum ]—sunflower [ Helianthus annuus L.]) and crop-fallow (C-F; spring wheat—fallow) that underwent factorial tillage (none, minimum, conventional) and N rate (low, medium, high) treatments. For CC, the N rate (but not tillage) had a significant effect on pH, with the high N rate leading to the largest pH decline (−0.76). The nitrogen rate also had a significant effect on cation exchange capacity (CEC) for CC, whereby CEC increased with the N rate. Managers utilizing high N rates should be aware of the potential for soil acidification, even in the northern Great Plains of North America.