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Soil tillage influences on soil mineral nitrogen and nitrate leaching in Swedish arable soils

Myrbeck, Åsa (2014). Soil tillage influences on soil mineral nitrogen and nitrate leaching in Swedish arable soils. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2014:71
ISBN 978-91-576-8090-7
eISBN 978-91-576-8091-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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Leaching of nitrogen (N) is an unwanted effect of agriculture practices which contributes to eutrophication of surface waters. This thesis examined how soil tillage practices affect leaching losses of N from arable fields. This was done directly by measuring N in drainage water and indirectly by studying the dynamics of soil mineral N (SMN) within the soil profile and involved long-term and short-term studies of tillage of different timing and intensity. The impact of time of tillage in autumn on soil structure and crop yield was also examined.

It was found that adapting soil management and tillage to crop rotation in order to synchronise SMN with crop demand could substantially decrease leaching losses of N. Tillage effects on SMN were mainly attributable to interruption of N uptake in crops and weeds, rather than stimulation of N mineralisation. Timing of tillage proved to be important in this regard. In clay soils, however, delayed tillage in autumn (previously shown to reduce N leaching losses in coarse-textured soils) resulted in operations being performed when soil water content was higher than optimal, causing a poor tillage outcome and decreased yield. From the results it can be concluded that a reduction in N leaching by delaying autumn tillage may be achieved on lighter clay soils in warmer and moister areas of Sweden whereas the effects may be small on heavier clay soils.

The results indicated potential for further reductions in N leaching, especially in autumn-sown crops, by early sowing, a short time interval between tillage and sowing and undersowing of a catch crop in spring. SMN accumulation in winter wheat during autumn and winter was not influenced by tillage method. Therefore changing from conventional to reduced tillage or direct drilling of winter crops is unlikely to reduce overall N leaching losses. The importance of high biomass production during autumn and winter was identified and should be the main focus in strategies for mitigating N leaching losses from arable fields.

Authors/Creators:Myrbeck, Åsa
Title:Soil tillage influences on soil mineral nitrogen and nitrate leaching in Swedish arable soils
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :29 August 2014
Number of Pages:74
I.Å. Myrbeck, M. Stenberg, J. Arvidsson, T. Rydberg. (2012). Effects of autumn tillage of clay soil on mineral N content, spring cereal yield and soil structure over time. European Journal of Agronomy 37, 96-104.
II.Å. Myrbeck, M. Stenberg, T. Rydberg. (2012). Establishment of winter wheat – Strategies for reducing the risk of nitrogen leaching in a cool-temperate region. Soil & Tillage Research 120, 25-31.
III.Å. Myrbeck, J. Arvidsson, T Keller. (2014). Effect of time of primary tillage on soil structure, grain yield and risk of nitrogen leaching in two Swedish clay soils. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B – Soil & Plant Science 64(1), 33-44.
IV.Å. Myrbeck, M. Stenberg. (2014). Changes in N leaching and crop production as a result of measures to reduce N losses to water in a 6-yr crop rotation. Soil Use and Management 30, 219-230.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8090-7
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8091-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F07 Soil cultivation
P Natural resources > P33 Soil chemistry and physics
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Agrovoc terms:cereal crops, nitrogen, leaching, catch crops, tillage, straw, nitrogen mineralization, winter crops, spring crops, sowing date, agricultural soils, clay soils, sweden
Keywords:soil tillage, nitrogen leaching, soil mineral nitrogen, tillage timing, reduced tillage, catch crops, straw treatment
Permanent URL:
ID Code:11461
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
External funders:Jordbruksverket / Swedish Board of Agriculture and Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning
Deposited By: Åsa Myrbeck
Deposited On:28 Aug 2014 11:28
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 11:08

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