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Type: Journal article
Title: Soil mineral nitrogen benefits derived from legumes and comparisons of the apparent recovery of legume or fertiliser nitrogen by wheat
Author: Peoples, M.
Swan, A.
Goward, L.
Kirkegaaard, J.
Hunt, J.
Li, G.
Schwenke, G.
Herridge, D.
Moodie, M.
Wilhelm, N.
Potter, T.
Denton, M.
Browne, C.
Phillips, L.
Khan, D.
Citation: Soil Research, 2017; 55(6):600-615
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1838-675X
Statement of
Mark B. Peoples, Antony D. Swan, Laura Goward, John A. Kirkegaard, James R. Hunt, Guangdi D. Li, Graeme D. Schwenke, David F. Herridge, Michael Moodie, Nigel Wilhelm, Trent Potter, Matthew D. Denton, Claire Browne, Lori A. Phillips, and Dil Fayaz Khan
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.
Keywords: canola; cereals; N uptake; pulses; rotation; sequence
Rights: Journal compilation © CSIRO 2017
RMID: 0030072655
DOI: 10.1071/SR16330
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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