Nitrogen release from organic nutrient sources in soil is influenced by a range of factors such as soil temperature and moisture, and chemical composition of the organic material. Chemical composition can, to a certain degree, be controlled to increase the synchronization of nitrogen (N) release with plant N demand, whereas climatic factors cannot be controlled and so must be taken into account when planning management measures. In this paper, we discuss different ways to affect N release through manipulation of the chemical composition of fresh or pretreated plant materials and animal manures, timing of incorporation, and intentional distribution during application. We conclude by giving an overview of off-farm options that may need to be implemented to achieve improved use of N, especially in agricultural systems with surplus N.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4