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Nitrogen cycling, profit margins and sweet corn yield under fall cover crop systems

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Title: Nitrogen cycling, profit margins and sweet corn yield under fall cover crop systems
Author: O'Reilly, K.A.; Lauzon, J.D.; Vyn, R.J.; Van Eerd, L.L.
Abstract: In order to improve N best management practices in southwestern Ontario vegetable farming, the effect of cover crops on N dynamics in the fall and spring prior to sweet corn planting and during sweet corn season was assessed. The experiment was a split plot design in a fresh green pea cover crop sweet corn rotation that took place over 2 site-years at Bothwell and Ridgetown in 2006 2007 and 2007 2008, respectively. The main plot factor was fall cover crop type with five treatments including oat (Avena sativa L.), cereal rye (Secale cereale L.), oilseed radish (OSR; Raphanus sativus L. var. oleoferus Metzg Stokes), mixture OSR plus cereal rye (OSR&rye) and a no cover crop control. Compared with no cover crop, sweet corn profit margins were higher by $450 ha- 1 for oat at Bothwell and $1300 and $760 ha- 1 for OSR and OSR&rye, respectively, at Ridgetown. By comparing plant available N over the cover crop season, the cover crops tested were more effective at preventing N loss at Bothwell than at Ridgetown likely due to higher precipitation and sandier soil at Bothwell. Despite differences in site characteristics, cover crops did not result in increased plant available N compared with no-cover during the sweet corn season at either site, indicating that these cover crops will not provide an N credit to the following crop and growers should not modify N fertilizer applications based on cover crops.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/7550
Date: 2012
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Citation: O'Reilly, K. A., Lauzon, J.D., Vyn, R. J., and Van Eerd, L. L.. 2012. Nitrogen cycling, profit margins and sweet corn yield under fall cover crop systems. Canadian Journal of Soil Science. 92: 353-365


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