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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Impact of loosening and straw addition to the subsoil on crop performance and nitrogen leaching: A lysimeter study

Getahun, Gizachew Tarekegn; Bergstrom, Lars; Rychel, Katrin; Katterer, Thomas; Kirchmann, Holger;

Abstract

Poor subsoil properties are difficult to ameliorate and detrimental to soil fertility and crop yield. The effects of loosening (L) and loosening + straw (LS) similar to 60 Mg ha(-1) into the subsoil (25-40 cm depth) on crop yield, water flow, and the nitrogen (N) balance components under bare soil conditions and a barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) crop were investigated in an about 21-mo lysimeter study and compared with a control treatment. Undisturbed soil columns (n = 12) were excavated from an agricultural field in May 2016, installed at a lysimeter station, and exposed to outdoor climatic conditions in Uppsala, Sweden, in August 2016. Spring barley ('Makof') was grown between June and September 2017. Total N leaching loads over the 21 mo were high (74-193 kg ha(-1)). The LS treatment reduced the N load by 49% (P = .01) and 62% (P = .001) compared with the L and control treatments, respectively. Loosening reduced N load by 25% (P < .07) compared with the control. Emissions of N2O were low (0.04-0.07 kg N ha(-1)), and no differences were observed between treatments. Leaf relative chlorophyll content was lower in the LS treatment than in the L and control treatments (P < .05). Yield was also lowest in the LS treatment (5.8 Mg ha(-1)) and was 7 and 8.5% lower than in the control and L treatments (P > .05), respectively. These results suggest that LS can reduce N leaching. The overall effects of LS on crop performance and N removal and leaching should be further scrutinized in long-term field studies.

Published in

Journal of Environmental Quality

2021, volume: 50, number: 4, pages: 858-867
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jeq2.20231

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113012