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Nitrogen accumulation in plant tissues and roots and N mineralization under oilseeds, pulses, and spring wheat

Gan, Y., Campbell, C.A., Janzen, H.H., Lemke, R.L., Basnyat, P., McDonald, C.L. (2010). Nitrogen accumulation in plant tissues and roots and N mineralization under oilseeds, pulses, and spring wheat, 332(1), 451-461. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11104-010-0312-7

Abstract

To understand how pulse and oilseed crops might use nitrogen (N) more efficiently under varying levels of water and N availability in soil, we conducted a 2-year field study to monitor N accumulation in aboveground (AG-N) and root material at five growth stages, for canola (Brassica napus L.), mustard (Brassica juncea L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), dry pea (Pisum sativum L.) and lentil (Lens culinaris Medicum) alongside spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Crops were grown in lysimeters (15 cm diameter × 100 cm deep) installed in the field in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. AG-N in all crops was greater under high-water than under low-water conditions. In oilseeds and wheat, AG-N increased until flowering then tended to level off, while in pulses it increased gradually to maturity. At maturity, dry pea and wheat had the greatest AG-N and mustard the least. Enhanced water availability increased seed N but did not affect straw N; consequently, N harvest index was greater under high-water than under low-water conditions. Root N increased until late-flowering or late-pod (dough stage in wheat) then decreased to maturity. Mustard had the lowest root N, chickpea the second lowest, and canola, wheat, dry pea, and lentil the highest. Improved water availability increased root N for oilseeds and wheat but did not affect root N in pulses. At maturity, average root N of oilseeds, pulses, and wheat was 14, 17, and 20 kg ha-1, respectively. At the seedling stage pulse crops had about 27% of total plant N in their roots, a much greater proportion than for the non-legumes. However, by maturity all crops had about 14% of plant N in their roots. Soil NO3-N increased gradually between seedling and maturity in non-legumes but in pulses there was a sharp spike at early flowering. Estimated apparent net N mineralized was similar for wheat and pulse crops which were greater than for canola and mustard. Soil N amounts and temporal change patterns varied substantially among crops evaluated, and these differences need to be considered in the development of diverse cropping systems where cereals, legumes, and oilseeds are included in rotation systems. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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