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9569. Cochran, V.L., L.F. Elliott and R.I. Papendick. 1980. Carbon and nitrogen movement from surface-applied wheat straw.. Soil Science Soc. Am. J. 44:978-982..
The N immobilization potential of surface-applied wheat straw as compared with incorporated straw was evaluated in the laboratotory with soil columns. The columns were leached weekly and C and N content of the leachate was determined. Leachate C/N ratios for straw alone exceeded 20:1 on several occasions and reached a maximum of 56, indicating a potential for N immobilization. Less than 5% of the total C in the straw was recovered in the leachates, providing an inmobilizatoin potential of <5 kg N//ha. Leachate C/N ratios from 1-, 2-, and 4-cm deep soil columns with surface-applied wheaat straw and no ferilizer N ranged up to 55:1; 30:1 and 22:1, respectively, while the highest leachate C/N ratio from the 4-cm mixed straw treatment was 30:1. A significant percentage of mineralized N was immobilized in the 1 and 2 cm of soil by surface residues. Much less N was immobilized in the 4-cm soil columns. Thus, placement of fertilizer N several centimenters below the soil surface would alleviate possible N immobilization from organic C leached from surface crop residues. The amount of applied N recovered in the leachate during 9 weeks of incubation ranged from 60 to 70% for all soil column treatments with or without surface straw. There was no significant difference between treatments. In contrast, the recovery of applied N from the mixed straw treatment was only 36% indicating a much greater potential for N immobilization with mixed than with surface straw. The quantity of the fertilizer N added probably masked the immobilization potential of surface residues. Fertilizer N stimulated early release of C from the straw alone treatment. But after 9 weeks of incubation the overall C loss from both fertilized and unfertilized straw was about 30%.