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Cornstalk zea mays decomposition on a till planted watershed



Cornstalk zea mays decomposition on a till planted watershed



Agronomy Journal 72(5): 709-712



The rate of cornstalk decomposition and N and P release on a till-planted watershed in the Corn Belt was determined. Samples of cornstalk residue were periodically collected from 12 sites distributed over the watershed and analyzed for weight loss and plant nutrient content. After 12 mo., 79% of the residue had decomposed. About 2/3 of the decomposition occurred from Nov.-April when soil temperatures were unfavorable for high microbial activity. N and P were released from the residue during the early stages of decomposition. After 12 mo., 60% of the N and 74% of the P had been lost. The percentages of N and P in the residue rapidly increased during the last 3 mo. of the study when soil moisture and soil temperature were favorable for optimum activity. The C/N ratio declined from 48 to 23. Narrowing of the ratio was caused by a proportionately greater decrease in C content than in N content.

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Accession: 005056739

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