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1. chinaXiv:201605.00542 [pdf]

Contribution of N from green harvest residues for sugarcane nutrition in Brazil

Danilo A. Ferreira; Henrique C. J. Franco; Rafael Otto; André C. Vitti; Caio Fortes; Carlos E. Faroni; Alan L. Garside; Paulo C. O. Trivelin
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Plant ecology, plant geography

Brazil is recognized as a prominent renewable energy producer due to the production of ethanol from sugarcane. However, in order for this source of energy to be considered truly sustainable, conservation management practices, such as harvesting the cane green (without burning) and retaining the trash in the field, need to be adopted. This management practice affects mostly the nitrogen (N) cycle through the effect of trash on immobilization–mineralization of N by soil microorganisms. The aim of the experiments reported here was to evaluate N recovery from trash (trash-N) by sugarcane during three ratoon crop seasons: 2007, 2008 and 2009. Two field experiments were carried out, one in Jaboticabal and the other in Pradopolis, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The experiments were set up in a randomized block design with four replications. Within each plot, microplots were installed where the original trash was replaced by trash labelled with 15N, and maintained up to the fourth crop cycle. Trash-N recovery was higher in the Jaboticabal site, the most productive one, than in the Pradópolis site. The average trash-N recovery across the two sites after three crop cycles was 7.6 kg ha−1 (or 16.2% of the initial N content in trash), with the remaining trash-N being incorporated into soil organic matter reserves. While these results indicate that the value of trash for sugarcane nutrition is limited in the short term, maintaining trash on the field will serve as a long-term source of N and C for the soil.

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