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Nitrogen dynamics in cover crop-based no-till corn
Poffenbarger, Hanna Jane
Weil, Ray R
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Legume/grass cover crop mixtures and sidedress subsurface band manure application are two approaches to improving nitrogen (N) use efficiency in a cover crop-based no-till corn (<italic>Zea mays</italic> L.) system. The objectives of this study were to: 1) quantify cover crop biomass and N content in response to different hairy vetch (<italic>Vicia villosa</italic> Roth)/cereal rye (<italic>Secale cereale</italic> L.) sown proportions, 2) evaluate the effects of cover crop species proportions and pelletized poultry litter (PPL) application method on residue decomposition, and 3) model the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil inorganic N as influenced by different cover crop residues and subsurface band-applied PPL. Results suggest that cover crop mixtures can accumulate as much biomass as a cereal rye monoculture and as much N as a hairy vetch monoculture, and have decomposition patterns intermediate between those of monocultures. Subsurface band PPL application provided a localized N source that did not influence decomposition of surface mulches.