Agricultural Research Division of IANR



Charles A. Shapiro

Date of this Version



Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 79:1693–1703 doi:10.2136/sssaj2015.05.0200.


Copyright © 2015 Soil Science Society of America. Used by permission.


Crop rotation influences yield through its effects on nutrient and pest cycles, soil C, water availability, and soil physical and chemical properties. A cropping system study was conducted from 2004 to 2008 near Brunswick, NE, on sandy loam (Haplustolls) soils to evaluate improvements of irrigated corn (Zea mays L.) yield and N use efficiency (NUE) when following soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] in 2 yr as corn following soybean (CS) or in 3 yr as first-year corn following soybean (C1) and second-year corn following soybean (C2) compared with continuous corn (CC). SPAD readings at V10 and R2 were approximately 3 to 4% greater in CS than CC, indicating more inseason N availability. Corn grain yield of CS (12.1 Mg ha−1) was 20% greater than CC (10.1 Mg ha−1), with 69 and 57% greater NUE and N recovery efficiency, respectively. At zero N applied, corn harvest index was 15% greater in CS with 37% increased plant N uptake at harvest compared with CC. In CS, fertilizer replacement value estimated soybean N credits of 66 and 49 kg N ha−1 based on grain yield and plant N uptake, respectively. The difference in N rates needed to produce maximum grain yield of CS vs. CC was estimated at 32 kg ha−1 soybean N credit. The average soybean N credit was 49, 41, and 26 kg N ha−1 for the corn in CS, C1, and C2, respectively. Both the 2- and 3-yr corn–soybean rotations on loamy sand soils improved corn yield and NUE.