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Title: Soil mineral nitrogen benefits derived from legumes and comparisons of the apparent recovery of legume or fertiliser nitrogen by wheat
Contributor(s): Peoples, Mark B (author); Swan, Antony D (author); Goward, Laura (author); Kirkegaard, John A (author); Hunt, James R (author); Li, Guangdi D (author); Schwenke, Graeme D  (author); Herridge, David F (author); Moodie, Michael (author); Wilhelm, Nigel (author); Potter, Trent (author); Denton, Matthew D (author); Browne, Claire (author); Phillips, Lori A (author); Khan, Dil Fayaz (author)
Publication Date: 2017
DOI: 10.1071/SR16330
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Abstract: Nitrogen (N) contributed by legumes is an important component of N supply to subsequent cereal crops, yet few Australian grain-growers routinely monitor soil mineral N before applying N fertiliser. Soil and crop N data from 16 dryland experiments conducted in eastern Australia from 1989–2016 were examined to explore the possibility of developing simple predictive relationships to assist farmer decision-making. In each experiment, legume crops were harvested for grain or brown-manured (BM, terminated before maturity with herbicide), and wheat, barley or canola were grown. Soil mineral N measured immediately before sowing wheat in the following year was significantly higher (P < 0.05) after 31 of the 33 legume pre-cropping treatments than adjacent non-legume controls. The average improvements in soil mineral N were greater for legume BM (60 ± 16 kg N/ha; n = 5) than grain crops (35 ± 20 kg N/ha; n = 26), but soil N benefits were similar when expressed on the basis of summer fallow rainfall (0.15 ± 0.09 kg N/ha per mm), residual legume shoot dry matter (9 ± 5 kg N/ha per t/ha), or total legume residue N (28 ± 11%). Legume grain crops increased soil mineral N by 18 ± 9 kg N/ha per t/ha grain harvested. Apparent recovery of legume residue N by wheat averaged 30 ± 10% for 20 legume treatments in a subset of eight experiments. Apparent recovery of fertiliser N in the absence of legumes in two of these experiments was 64 ± 16% of the 51-75 kg fertiliser-N/ha supplied. The 25 year dataset provided new insights into the expected availability of soil mineral N after legumes and the relative value of legume N to a following wheat crop, which can guide farmer decisions regarding N fertiliser use.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Soil Research, 55(6), p. 600-615
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1838-675X
Field of Research (FOR): 070302 Agronomy
070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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