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1 March 2012 Estimating changes of residual soil nitrogen in Chernozemic soils in Canada
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Yang, J. Y., Huffman, T., Drury, C. F., Yang, X. M., De Jong, R. and Campbell, C. A. 2012. Estimating changes of residual soil nitrogen in Chernozemic soils in Canada. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 481-491. Chernozemic soils (Mollisols) account for approximately 68% of total farmland in the prairies and 54% of farmland in Canada. Although many field studies have focused on the importance of N in Chernozemic soils, few modelling studies have been conducted to examine the risk of N contamination to the environment The objective of this research was to estimate temporal and spatial changes in residual soil nitrogen (RSN) on Chernozemic soils at the 1:1 million regional scale. An annual N budget was developed for the study area for the period 1981 to 2006, using the Canadian Agricultural Nitrogen Budget (CANB v3.0) model. The difference between N inputs and outputs is considered RSN, which is defined as the inorganic N left in the soil after harvest. Average RSN levels in the sub-humid Black and Dark Gray Chernozemic soils increased from 7-9 kg N ha-1 in 1981 to 20-23 kg N ha-1 in 2006. Changes in RSN were much less pronounced in the arid and semi-arid Brown and Dark Brown soil zones, where average values increased from approximately 1 kg N ha-1 to 4-7 kg N ha-1 over 25 yr. Commercial fertilizer, manure and biological N2 fixation were the three main sources of the increased N inputs. Drought conditions also contributed to the surplus of N in some years by reducing crop growth and thus the amount of N removed in grain and forage crops. In Chernozemic soils, more careful use of chemical fertilizer N, improved manure N management and greater use of legume-cereal rotations are recommended as methods to maintain soil fertility and reduce nitrogen loss to the environment.

J. Y. Yang, T. Huffman, C. F. Drury, X. M. Yang, R. De Jong, and C. A. Campbell "Estimating changes of residual soil nitrogen in Chernozemic soils in Canada," Canadian Journal of Soil Science 92(3), 481-491, (1 March 2012).
Received: 22 November 2010; Accepted: 1 April 2011; Published: 1 March 2012

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