U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska



Marty R. Schmer

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Schmer MR, Jin VL, Wienhold BJ, Becker SM, Varvel GE. Long-term rotation diversity and nitrogen effects on soil organic carbon and nitrogen stocks. Agrosyst Geosci Environ. 2020;3:e20055. https://doi.org/10.1002/agg2.20055




Understanding the impacts of long-term fertilizer management and rotation diversity on soil C and N is needed under a changing climate. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of N fertilizer level and crop rotation diversity on soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil N stocks from a 34-yr study located in eastern Nebraska. Seven crop rotations (three continuous cropping systems; two 2-yr crop rotations; and two 4-yr crop rotations) and three N levels were compared. Soil samples were taken to a depth of 150 cm. Differences in SOC stocks were largely confined to the 0- to 7.5-cm depth, with greater SOC (P = .0002) in rotations than continuous cropping systems and greater SOC (P = .0004) in 4-yr vs. 2-yr rotations. Total soil N was greater with increased crop rotation diversity for the 0- to 30-cm soil profile. Greater SOC levels occurred with N fertilization for the 0- to 7.5-cm depth. At the 0- to 150-cm soil depth, SOC stocks were similar between N levels and greater for the 4-yr vs. 2-yr crop rotations (P = .0492). Trends in total N stocks were similar to those of SOC stocks. Overall, crop rotation had a larger effect on SOC and N stocks than N fertilizer.

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