Gentry, L. E., S. S. Snapp, R. F. Price, and L. F. Gentry. 2013. Apparent red clover nitrogen credit to corn: Evaluating cover crop introduction. Agronomy Journal 105:1658-1664.
Corn (Zea mays L.) production systems can benefit from introducing a leguminous winter cover crop into the rotation, especially with regard to increased N availability (i.e., legume N credit); however, it is not known if the full agronomic benefit is realized in the first year of cover crop introduction or if the benefit is cumulative with time. The objective of this study was to determine the apparent red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) N credit to corn in a conventional system where red clover was introduced for the first time compared with three agricultural systems that had a 14-yr history of using cover crops. The apparent red clover N credit was calculated by the difference in unfertilized corn N accumulation between cover and no-cover split-split plots. These data suggest that corn growers can realize the full benefits of a red clover cover crop in the first year of introduction.
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