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Nitrate leaching and spring wheat bread making quality following cultivation of grasslands of different composition, age and management

Eriksen, J.; Pedersen, L. and Jørgensen, J.R. (2006) Nitrate leaching and spring wheat bread making quality following cultivation of grasslands of different composition, age and management. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 116, pp. 165-175.

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The influence of sward botanical composition and ley age on grassland residual effects, quality of spring wheat and subsequent nitrate leaching was investigated. Grazed grasslands of different age (1, 2 and 8 production years) and composition (unfertilised grass-clover and fertilised perennial ryegrass) were ploughed and followed by spring wheat and spring barley. For reference, an adjacent field without grassland history but with the same crop sequence in 2002-2003 was treated with increasing quantities of N fertiliser. Yields and N uptake of spring wheat following grasslands always exceeded those of the reference plots with a history of cereal production. The nitrogen fertiliser replacement values of grass-clover and ryegrass were 59-100 and 72-121 kg ha-1, respectively, with the highest values representing the 8-year-old leys. Grain yield and N uptake increased while those for straw decreased with increasing ley age. There were no effects of previous grassland type (grass-clover/ryegrass) on content of protein, starch and gluten, but grassland age significantly influenced protein (P<0.05) and gluten (P<0.01) contents. It is suggested that N mineralisation following the ploughing of older grass leys occurred later than when following the 1st year ley. The protein and gluten contents of wheat following unfertilised grass-clover corresponded to those following cereals given 125-150 kg N ha-1, but the rheological properties of the gluten were different to what could be achieved using equivalent quantities of mineral fertiliser. Probably, the slow release of N from decomposition of old grassland gave a better synchrony between N release and plant demand. Nitrate leaching in year 1 after ploughing was significantly influenced by type of grassland (P<0.001) with 10 and 29 kg N ha-1 leached from grass-clover and ryegrass, respectively. Nitrate leaching following ploughing of 1-year-old leys averaged 11 kg N ha-1 which was significantly lower than the 24 kg N ha-1 following 2 or 8-year-old leys. The flow-weighted mean nitrate concentration decreased from 8.5 mg N l-1 in year 1 after grassland cultivation to 4.5 mg N l-1 in year 2. More N was released following ploughing of ryegrass swards and from grasslands of increasing age, but differences were moderate compared to the estimated N-surplus. This indicates that when organic matter in grasslands is partially decomposed and readily mineralisable N used, the remaining organic N is released only very slowly.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > I.15 (NIT_GRASS) Nitrate leaching from dairy farming
Deposited By: Eriksen, Professor Jørgen
ID Code:10042
Deposited On:05 Dec 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:34
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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