Drury, C. F., Reynolds, W. D., Tan, C. S., McLaughlin, N. B., Yang, X. M., Calder, W., Oloya, T. O. and Yang, J. Y. 2014. Impacts of 49-51 years of years of fertilization and crop rotation on growing season nitrous oxide emissions, nitrogen uptake and corn yields. Can. J. Soil Sci. 94: 421-433. A field study was established in 1959 to evaluate the effects of fertilization and crop rotation on crop yields, soil and environmental quality on a Brookston clay loam. There were two fertilizer treatments (fertilized and not-fertilized) and six cropping treatments including continuous corn (CC), continuous Kentucky bluegrass sod and a 4-yr rotation of corn-oat-alfalfa-alfalfa with each phase present each year. We measured N2O emissions, inorganic N and plant N uptake over three growing seasons (2007-2009) in the corn phase. Nitrous oxide emissions varied over the 3 yr as a result of the seasonal variation in precipitation quantity, intensity and timing and differences in crop growth and N uptake. Fertilized CC lost, on average, 7.36 kg N ha-1 by N2O emissions, whereas the not-fertilized CC lost only 0.51 kg N ha-1. Fertilized rotation corn (RC) lost 6.46 kg N ha-1, which was 12% lower than fertilized CC. The not-fertilized RC, on the other hand, emitted about half as much N2O (2.95 kg N ha-1) as the fertilized RC. Fertilized RC had corn grain yields that averaged 10.0 t ha-1 over the 3 yr followed by fertilized CC at 5.48 t ha-1. Not-fertilized RC corn had yields that were 61% lower (3.93 t ha-1) than fertilized RC, whereas the not-fertilized CC had yields that were 75% lower (1.39 t ha-1) than fertilized CC. Nitrous oxide emissions were found to be dramatically affected by long-term management practices and crop rotation had lower emissions in the corn phase of the rotation even though the N input from fertilizer addition and legume N fixation was greater. These N2O emission and yield results were due to both factors that are traditionally used to describe these processes as well as long-term soil quality factors, which were created by the long-term management (i.e., soil organic carbon, soil physical parameters such as bulk density, and porosity, soil fauna and micro-flora) and that influenced crop growth, N uptake and soil water contents.
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Vol. 94 • No. 3