Phosphorus availability and dynamics in soil affected by long-term ruzigrass cover crop.
ABSTRACT: The use of grasses as cover crops in the off-season of cash crops under no-till has been largely adopted. However, soil phosphorus (P) uptake was previously shown to be reduced when ruzigrass is introduced in the rotation, affecting the viability and sustainability of this cropping system. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of ruzigrass on soil P availability and desorption kinetics under different P fertilizer application rates. A long-term field experiment where soybean (Glycine max) has been grown in rotation with ruzigrass (Urochloa ruziziensis) or fallow for 10 years, with the application of 0, 13, and 26 kg ha-1 of P, was evaluated for two consecutive years. Soil P desorption kinetics was assessed using diffusive equilibrium (DET) and gradient in thin films (DGT) techniques, as well as the DGT-induced fluxes in soils model (DIFS). Microbial biomass P (MBP) was assessed to verify if soil solution P (PDET) was reduced due to immobilization by microorganisms. Ruzigrass reduced MBP and PDET especially when P fertilizer was applied. The concentration of labile P (PDGT) was also lower after ruzigrass than in fallow. The soil ability to resupply P to soil solution was lower after ruzigrass regardless of P rates due to a slower desorption in response to the perturbation imposed by DGT. Growing ruzigrass as cover crop in the soybean off-season decreases soil P availability regardless of P fertilizer application rates by fundamentally reducing P mobility and P resupply from soil solid phase into soil solution.
Project description:To effectively manage soil fertility, knowledge is needed of how a crop uses nutrients from fertilizer applied to the soil. Soil quality is a combination of biological, chemical and physical properties and is hard to assess directly because of collective and multiple functional effects. In this paper, we focus on the application of these concepts to agriculture. We define the baseline fertility of soil as the level of fertility that a crop can acquire for growth from the soil. With this strict definition, we propose a new crop yield-fertility model that enables quantification of the process of improving baseline fertility and the effects of treatments solely from the time series of crop yields. The model was modified from Michaelis-Menten kinetics and measured the additional effects of the treatments given the baseline fertility. Using more than 30 years of experimental data, we used the Bayesian framework to estimate the improvements in baseline fertility and the effects of fertilizer and farmyard manure (FYM) on maize (Zea mays), barley (Hordeum vulgare), and soybean (Glycine max) yields. Fertilizer contributed the most to the barley yield and FYM contributed the most to the soybean yield among the three crops. The baseline fertility of the subsurface soil was very low for maize and barley prior to fertilization. In contrast, the baseline fertility in this soil approximated half-saturated fertility for the soybean crop. The long-term soil fertility was increased by adding FYM, but the effect of FYM addition was reduced by the addition of fertilizer. Our results provide evidence that long-term soil fertility under continuous farming was maintained, or increased, by the application of natural nutrients compared with the application of synthetic fertilizer.
Project description:Pastures are an important part of crop and food systems in cold climates. Understanding how fertilization and plant species affect soil bacterial community diversity and composition is the key for understanding the role of soil bacteria in sustainable agriculture. To study the response of soil bacteria to different fertilization and cropping managements, a 3-year (2013-2015) field study was established. In the split-plot design, fertilizer treatment (unfertilized control, organic fertilizer, and synthetic fertilizer) was the main plot factor, and plant treatment [clear fallow, red clover (Trifolium pratense), timothy (Phleum pratense), and a mixture of red clover and timothy] was the sub-plot factor. Soil bacterial community diversity and composition, soil properties, and crop growth were investigated through two growing seasons in 2014 and 2015, with different nitrogen input levels. The community diversity measures (richness, Shannon diversity, and Shannon evenness) and composition changed over time (P < 0.05) and at different time scales. The community diversity was lower in 2014 than in 2015. The temporal differences were greater than the differences between treatments. The overall correlations of Shannon diversity to soil pH, NO 3- , NH 4+ , and surplus nitrogen were positive and that of bacterial richness to crop dry matter yield was negative (P < 0.05). The major differences in diversity and community composition were found between fallow and planted treatments and between organic and synthetic fertilizer treatments. The differences between the planted plots were restricted to individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Soil moisture, total carbon content, and total nitrogen content correlated consistently with the community composition (P < 0.05). Compared to the unfertilized control, the nitrogen fertilizer loading enhanced the temporal change of community composition in pure timothy and in the mixture more than that in red clover, which further emphasizes the complexity of interactions between fertilization and cropping treatments on soil bacteria.
Project description:Nitrifying microorganisms play an important role in nitrogen (N) cycling in agricultural soils as nitrification leads to accumulation of nitrate (NO3-) that is readily lost through leaching and denitrification, particularly in high rainfall regions. Legume crop rotation in sugarcane farming systems can suppress soil pathogens and improve soil health, but its effects on soil nitrifying microorganisms are not well understood. Using shotgun metagenomic sequencing, we investigated the impact of two legume break crops, peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and soybean (Glycine max), on the nitrifying communities in a sugarcane cropping soil. Cropping with either legume substantially increased abundances of soil bacteria and archaea and altered the microbial community composition, but did not significantly alter species richness and evenness relative to a bare fallow treatment. The ammonia oxidisers were mostly archaeal rather than bacterial, and were 24-44% less abundant in the legume cropping soils compared to the bare fallow. Furthermore, abundances of the archaeal amoA gene encoding ammonia monooxygenase in the soybean and peanut cropping soils were only 30-35% of that in the bare fallow. These results warrant further investigation into the mechanisms driving responses of ammonia oxidising communities and their nitrification capacity in soil during legume cropping.
Project description:Sugarcane production relies on the application of large amounts of nitrogen (N) fertilizer. However, application of N in excess of crop needs can lead to loss of N to the environment, which can negatively impact ecosystems. This is of particular concern in Australia where the majority of sugarcane is grown within catchments that drain directly into the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Multiple factors that impact crop yield and N inputs of sugarcane production systems can affect N use efficiency (NUE), yet the efficacy many of these factors have not been examined in detail. We undertook an extensive simulation analysis of NUE in Australian sugarcane production systems to investigate (1) the impacts of climate on factors determining NUE, (2) the range and drivers of NUE, and (3) regional variation in sugarcane N requirements. We found that the interactions between climate, soils, and management produced a wide range of simulated NUE, ranging from ?0.3 Mg cane (kg N)-1, where yields were low (i.e., <50 Mg ha-1) and N inputs were high, to >5 Mg cane (kg N)-1 in plant crops where yields were high and N inputs low. Of the management practices simulated (N fertilizer rate, timing, and splitting; fallow management; tillage intensity; and in-field traffic management), the only practice that significantly influenced NUE in ratoon crops was N fertilizer application rate. N rate also influenced NUE in plant crops together with the management of the preceding fallow. In addition, there is regional variation in N fertilizer requirement that could make N fertilizer recommendations more specific. While our results show that complex interrelationships exist between climate, crop growth, N fertilizer rates and N losses to the environment, they highlight the priority that should be placed on optimizing N application rate and fallow management to improve NUE in Australian sugarcane production systems. New initiatives in seasonal climate forecasting, decisions support systems and enhanced efficiency fertilizers have potential for making N fertilizer management more site specific, an action that should facilitate increased NUE.
Project description:Low soil fertility, high rates of fertilizer application and low yields and quality are major problems in intensive banana production in acid soils of south China. A field experiment was carried out for two years to determine the optimum management practices for maximizing soil health and banana yield and quality. The experiment consisted of an unamended control (CK) and lime (Lime), calcium magnesium phosphate fertilizer (CMP), organic fertilizer (OF), and organic fertilizer combined with calcium magnesium phosphate fertilizer (OFC) treatments. Soil nutrient concentrations and banana shoot biomass, nutrient uptake, yield and fruit quality were determined. Application of lime and CMP was found to increase soil pH and nutrient availability and increase banana yield. Yet, the banana biomass and yields in the Lime and CMP treatments were significantly lower than those in the OF and OFC treatments in which soil organic matter (SOM) content increased. Total soluble solids and soluble sugar contents increased in the CMP and organic fertilizer treatments. A consistent increase in Mg concentrations in banana leaves over the two years in the CMP and organic fertilizer treatments indicates that Mg is essential for banana production and quality. Short-term adding Mg from banana corms increased total soluble solids and soluble sugar content. The application of organic fertilizer combined with CMP or Mg solution is therefore recommended to increase soil health and promote the yield and quality of banana in intensively managed plantations in subtropical regions.
Project description:How fungi respond to long-term fertilization in Chinese Mollisols as sensitive indicators of soil fertility has received limited attention. To broaden our knowledge, we used high-throughput pyrosequencing and quantitative PCR to explore the response of soil fungal community to long-term chemical and organic fertilization strategies. Soils were collected in a 35-year field experiment with four treatments: no fertilizer, chemical phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer (PK), chemical phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen fertilizer (NPK), and chemical phosphorus and potassium fertilizer plus manure (MPK). All fertilization differently changed soil properties and fungal community. The MPK application benefited soil acidification alleviation and organic matter accumulation, as well as soybean yield. Moreover, the community richness indices (Chao1 and ACE) were higher under the MPK regimes, indicating the resilience of microbial diversity and stability. With regards to fungal community composition, the phylum Ascomycota was dominant in all samples, followed by Zygomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, and Glomeromycota. At each taxonomic level, the community composition dramatically differed under different fertilization strategies, leading to different soil quality. The NPK application caused a loss of Leotiomycetes but an increase in Eurotiomycetes, which might reduce the plant-fungal symbioses and increase nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) coupled with effect size (LDA score > 3.0), the NPK application significantly increased the abundances of fungal taxa with known pathogenic traits, such as order Chaetothyriales, family Chaetothyriaceae and Pleosporaceae, and genera Corynespora, Bipolaris, and Cyphellophora. In contrast, these fungi were detected at low levels under the MPK regime. Soil organic matter and pH were the two most important contributors to fungal community composition.
Project description:The long-term application of excessive chemical fertilizers has resulted in the degeneration of soil quality parameters such as soil microbial biomass, communities, and nutrient content, which in turn affects crop health, productivity, and soil sustainable productivity. The objective of this study was to develop a rapid and efficient solution for rehabilitating degraded cropland soils by precisely quantifying soil quality parameters through the application of manure compost and bacteria fertilizers or its combination during maize growth. We investigated dynamic impacts on soil microbial count, biomass, basal respiration, community structure diversity, and enzyme activity using six different treatments [no fertilizer (CK), N fertilizer (N), N fertilizer + bacterial fertilizer (NB), manure compost (M), manure compost + bacterial fertilizer (MB), and bacterial fertilizer (B)] in the plowed layer (0-20 cm) of potted soil during various maize growth stages in a temperate cropland of eastern China. Denaturing gradient electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting analysis showed that the structure and composition of bacterial and fungi communities in the six fertilizer treatments varied at different levels. The Shannon index of bacterial and fungi communities displayed the highest value in the MB treatments and the lowest in the N treatment at the maize mature stage. Changes in soil microorganism community structure and diversity after different fertilizer treatments resulted in different microbial properties. Adding manure compost significantly increased the amount of cultivable microorganisms and microbial biomass, thus enhancing soil respiration and enzyme activities (p<0.01), whereas N treatment showed the opposite results (p<0.01). However, B and NB treatments minimally increased the amount of cultivable microorganisms and microbial biomass, with no obvious influence on community structure and soil enzymes. Our findings indicate that the application of manure compost plus bacterial fertilizers can immediately improve the microbial community structure and diversity of degraded cropland soils.
Project description:Yixing, known as the "City of Ceramics", is facing a new dilemma: a raw material crisis. Cadmium (Cd) exists in extremely high concentrations in soil due to the considerable input of industrial wastewater into the soil ecosystem. The in situ technique of diffusive gradients in thin film (DGT), the ex situ static equilibrium approach (HAc, EDTA and CaCl2), and the dissolved concentration in soil solution, as well as microwave digestion, were applied to predict the Cd bioavailability of soil, aiming to provide a robust and accurate method for Cd bioavailability evaluation in Yixing. Moreover, the typical local cash crops-paddy and zizania aquatica-were selected for Cd accumulation, aiming to select the ideal plants with tolerance to the soil Cd contamination. The results indicated that the biomasses of the two applied plants were sufficiently sensitive to reflect the stark regional differences of different sampling sites. The zizania aquatica could effectively reduce the total Cd concentration, as indicated by the high accumulation coefficients. However, the fact that the zizania aquatica has extremely high transfer coefficients, and its stem, as the edible part, might accumulate large amounts of Cd, led to the conclusion that zizania aquatica was not an ideal cash crop in Yixing. Furthermore, the labile Cd concentrations which were obtained by the DGT technique and dissolved in the soil solution showed a significant correlation with the Cd concentrations of the biota accumulation. However, the ex situ methods and the microwave digestion-obtained Cd concentrations showed a poor correlation with the accumulated Cd concentration in plant tissue. Correspondingly, the multiple linear regression models were built for fundamental analysis of the performance of different methods available for Cd bioavailability evaluation. The correlation coefficients of DGT obtained by the improved multiple linear regression model have not significantly improved compared to the coefficients obtained by the simple linear regression model. The results revealed that DGT was a robust measurement, which could obtain the labile Cd concentrations independent of the physicochemical features' variation in the soil ecosystem. Consequently, these findings provide stronger evidence that DGT is an effective and ideal tool for labile Cd evaluation in Yixing.
Project description:Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a severe soil borne disease. The control of this disease is still a worldwide problem in agriculture. In this study, we found that application of potassium (K) fertilizer could decrease the occurrence of SCN at two field sites. Furthermore, the application of K could suppress Heterodera glycines with the activation of Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase (PAL) and Polyphenol Oxidase (PPO) expression via pot experiments in a greenhouse. The release of cinnamic, ferulic and salicylic acids was significantly enhanced by K application of 3 mM, and each of three acids can dramatically constrain Heterodera glycines in vitro. This research indicated that K induce multiple mechanisms to improve the resistance of soybean against SCN and provide a new strategy to control SCN in fields with nutrient application.
Project description:Low fertilizer application rates for several decades have depleted soil nutrients in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and contributed to relatively stagnant maize (Zea mays L.) yields. As maize is a staple crop, nutrient depletion has resulted in major food insecurity. While one potential solution is to apply more nitrogen (N) fertilizer, previous studies in SSA have found maize yield responses to be variable, likely because N is often not the only limiting nutrient. This study aimed to determine the impact of consecutive N fertilizer applications on plant uptake and available soil reserves of non-N nutrients. Maize was grown continuously in 3 sites that were representative of the ecosystem variability found in East/Southern Africa (Embu, Kenya; Kiboko, Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe) at 4 different N fertilizer rates (0-160 kg N ha-1) from 2010 to 2015. Following the final season, grain, stover, and soil (sampled at different depths to 0.9 m) samples were analyzed for essential plant nutrients. Nitrogen fertilizer increased plant uptake of P, S, Cu, and Zn by up to 280%, 320%, 420%, and 210%, respectively, showing potential for mitigating non-N nutrient deficiencies in 2 of the 3 sites. Cumulatively, however, there was a net negative effect of higher N rates on the P, K, and S soil-plant balances in all sites and on the Mn and Cu soil-plant balance in Kiboko, indicating that applying N fertilizer depletes non-N soil nutrients. While N fertilizer enhances the uptake of non-N nutrients, a balanced application of multiple essential nutrients is needed to sustainably increase yields in SSA.