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Process rates of nitrogen cycle in uppermost topsoil after harvesting in no-tilled and ploughed agricultural clay soil

Journal article
Authors M. Laine
Tobias Rütting
L. Alakukku
A. Palojarvi
R. Strommer
Published in Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Volume 110
Issue 1
Pages 39-49
ISSN 1385-1314
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 39-49
Language en
Keywords Zero tillage, Conventional tillage, Nitrate, Gross rate, Stable isotope, Agriculture, greenhouse-gas fluxes, long-term, tillage systems, field experiment, determining n-15, arable soils, crop, carbon, n2o, transformations, Agriculture, evens rj, 1994, soil science society of america journal, v58, p1108, ates of america, v104, p13268
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


No-till is considered an agricultural practice beneficial for the environment as soil erosion is decreased compared to ploughed soils. For on overall evaluation of the benefits and disadvantages of this crop production method, understanding the soil nutrient cycle is also of importance. The study was designed to obtain information about gross soil nitrogen (N) process rates in boreal no-tilled and mouldboard ploughed spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) fields after autumn harvesting. In situ soil gross N transformation process rates were quantified for the 5 cm topsoil in 9 days' incubation experiment using N-15 pool dilution and tracing techniques and a numerical N-15 tracing model. Gross N mineralization into ammonium (NH4+) and NH4+ immobilization were the most important N transformation processes in the soils. The gross mineralization rate was 14% and NH4+ immobilization rate 64% higher in no-till than in ploughing. Regardless of the faster mineralization, the gross rate of NH4+ oxidation into nitrate (NO3-) in no-till was one order of magnitude lower compared the ploughing. The results indicate that the no-tilled soils have the potential to decrease the risk for NO3- leaching due to slower NH4+ oxidation.

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