A combination of biological activity and the nitrate form of nitrogen can be used to ameliorate subsurface soil acidity under dryland wheat farming

Mark Conyers, Caixian Tang, Graeme Poile, De Liu, Deli Chen, Zaman Nuruzzaman

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    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The management of subsurface soil acidity remains a challenge. We tested the ability of calcium nitrate fertilization to force net anion uptake by wheat within acidic subsurface layers and hence its ability to increase, or at least maintain, soil pH within the acidic layer. The trials were conducted at two field sites: the moderately acidic site ran for 3 years (2006–08) while
    the trial at the most acidic site was conducted for 2 years (2006–07). Five treatments (nitrogen form and application method) were compared. Uptake efficiency of nitrogen (N) as measured by 15 N was similar (at ~40 to 70%) for both urea and nitrate sources at both sites.
    The urea source acidified the soils (up to 0.2 pH in 3 years) whilst the nitrate form resulted in increases in soil pH (up to 0.3 pH). The increases in pH were of a similar magnitude to the acidification rate measured in a nearby long-term trial. The dry matter production and grain yield in our trials were compromised by the decade long drought in our region, so the work should be repeated during wetter seasons. Calcium nitrate fertilization is a useful tool for at least maintaining soil pH, and even reversing soil acidification, in acidic subsurface soil layers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-166
    Number of pages12
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Volume348
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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