, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 1-9
Date: 29 Apr 2005

Seasonal pattern of denitrification under an irrigated wheat-maize cropping system fertilized with urea and farmyard manure in different combinations

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Abstract

Under semiarid subtropical field conditions, denitrification was measured from the arable soil layer of an irrigated wheat–maize cropping system fertilized with urea at 50 or 100 kg N ha−1 year−1 (U50 and U100, respectively), each applied in combination with 8 or 16 t ha−1 year−1 of farmyard manure (FYM) (F8 and F16, respectively). Denitrification was measured by acetylene inhibition/soil core incubation method, also taking into account the N2O entrapped in soil cores. Denitrification loss ranged from 3.7 to 5.7 kg N ha−1 during the growing season of wheat (150 days) and from 14.0 to 30.3 kg N ha−1 during the maize season (60 days). Most (up to 61%) of the loss occurred in a relatively short spell, after the presowing irrigation to maize, when the soil temperature was high and a considerable NO3 -N had accumulated during the preceding 4-month fallow; during this irrigation cycle, the lowest denitrification rate was observed in the treatment receiving highest N input (U100+F16), mainly because of the lowest soil respiration rate. Data on soil respiration and denitrification potential revealed that by increasing the mineral N application rate, the organic matter decomposition was accelerated during the wheat-growing season, leaving a lower amount of available C during the following maize season. Denitrification was affected by soil moisture and by soil temperature, the influence of which was either direct, or indirect by controlling the NO3 availability and aerobic soil respiration. Results indicated a substantial denitrification loss from the irrigated wheat–maize cropping system under semiarid subtropical conditions, signifying the need of appropriate fertilizer management practices to reduce this loss.