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Lethbridge, Canada

Olson B.M.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development | McKenzie R.H.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development | Larney F.J.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Bremer E.,Symbio Ag Consulting
Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Land application of livestock manure has caused concern about excess nutrients in soil and the potential risk to water quality. Application of manure based on cropnutrient requirements is considered a beneficial management practice. A field study was conducted to assess the feasibility and impact of crop-based N and P application rates of cattle (Bos taurus) manure and compost for crop productivity and accumulation of extractable soil N and P. The 6-yr (2002-2007), small-plot field study included 10 amendments: control (CONT), annual synthetic fertilizer N (F-N), annual synthetic fertilizer P (F-P), annual synthetic fertilizer N plus P (F-NP), annual N-based manure (M-N), annual P-based manure (M-P), three times the P-based manure once per 3 yr (M-3P), annual N-based compost (C-N), annual P-based compost (C-P), and three times the P-based compost once per 3 yr (C-3P). Amendments were arranged in randomized complete block design with five replicates and applied based on annual soil testing and nutrient recommendations. The test crops were triticale (-Triticosecale rimpaui Wittm.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) silage managed under irrigation. Dry matter yields for CONT and F-P were significantly smaller than for the other treatments. There were generally no significant differences among the six organic and F-NP amendments. Apparent N recovery (ANR) was greatest for F-NP (45%) and F-N (41%), followed by the P-based organic amendments (26-34%), M-N (15%), and smallest for C-N (10%). Apparent P recovery (APR) was greatest for F-NP (30%) and smallest for M-N (6%) and C-N (4%). The APR for the P-based organic amendments ranged from 14 to 22%. Application of the amendments did not result in the accumulation of excess nitrate N in the soil profile. The M-N and C-N amendments applied for 6yr increased extractable P in the 0- to 0.15-m soil layer from 12 mg kg-1 to 121 and 156mg kg -1, respectively. Crop productivity and soil nutrient responses indicated that assumptions made for P and N availability in manure and compost were reasonably accurate. Based on the results, P-based application of manure or compost can achieve optimum crop yield and prevent nutrient build-up in soil. Under the conditions of this study, the amount of land required to accommodate P-based application would be five to seven times more for manure and eight to ten times more for compost compared with N-based application. Source

McKenzie R.H.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development | Bremer E.,Symbio Ag Consulting | Middleton A.B.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development | Pfiffner P.G.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development | Woods S.A.,Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Canadian Journal of Plant Science

High crop productivity is essential for irrigated crops and may be strongly affected by decisions of seeding date and rate. An irrigated field experiment was conducted at two locations in southern Alberta for 4 yr to compare the impact of seeding date and rate on productivity and quality of nine cereal crops and two oilseed crops. Seeding rate was only evaluated on one date in late April or early May, when maximum yields were expected. Delayed seeding reduced crop yields by 0.6 to 1.7% per day after the end of April: flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) ≤CWRS wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), feed triticale (×Triticosecale W.)≤CPS or SWS wheat ≤ triticale or barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) silage ≤ durum (T. turgidum L.), feed or malt barley < canola (Brassica napus L.). Crop quality deteriorated with delayed seeding for some crops, particularly canola, malt barley and SWS wheat, but was unaffected or even slightly improved for other crops. Seeding rate generally had a smaller effect on crop yield or quality than seeding date, but triticale and SWS wheat required high seeding rates to achieve maximum yields. Early seeding and a sufficient seeding rate were required for high crop productivity of irrigated cereal and oilseed crops in southern Alberta. Source

Miller J.J.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Bremer E.,Symbio Ag Consulting | Beasley B.W.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Drury C.F.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | And 2 more authors.
Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Application of feedlot manure to cropland may impact the size distribution and nutrient content of soil aggregates. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of fresh or composted feedlot manure containing straw or wood-chip bedding on dry-sieved aggregate size distribution and nutrient contents. Surface (0-15 cm) soil samples were obtained from a long-term field experiment where treatments were fresh (FM) or composted manure (CM) containing straw or woodchips applied annually at 0 (control) or 77 Mg ha-1 yr-1 for 11 yr. Air-dried soil samples were separated using a rotary sieve into six aggregate size fractions ranging from <47 mm to > 12.7 mm. Total C, total N, C:N ratio, soil mineralizable N (41-d incubation), total P, soil test P, and P saturation index were determined on the six aggregate fractions. The amendments significantly (P≤0.05) increased the proportion of smaller (<0.47 mm) aggregates and decreased the proportion of the larger (>12.7 mm) aggregates relative to the unamended control. The geometric mean diameter (GMD) was also lower and wind erodible fraction (WEF) was greater for the amended treatments than unamended control. We attributed this manure effect to increased organic matter content in the soil making the aggregates more friable and susceptible to breakdown by tillage. Carbon, N, and P concentrations were not shifted to smaller aggregate sizes where root growth and nutrient uptake are generally greater. The exception was mineralizable N, which tended to be greater in the finer < 0.47 mm fraction. Mineralizable soil N in all aggregate sizes≥0.47 mm was reduced for wood-chip compared with straw bedding, and resulted in net N immobilization in aggregate sizes ≥ 1.2 mm. Phosphorus sorption was lower in soil amended with wood-chips compared with straw bedding for aggregates ≥ 0.47 mm. Long-term manure application may shift soil aggregates from larger to finer fractions because of greater friability and suggests that these soils should be managed to avoid the greater risk of wind erosion. Source

Beres B.L.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Harker K.N.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Clayton G.W.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Bremer E.,Symbio Ag Consulting | And 2 more authors.
Weed Technology

The inclusion of winter cereals in spring-annual rotations in the northern Great Plains may reduce weed populations and herbicide requirements. A broad range of spring and winter cereals were compared for ability to suppress weeds and maximize grain yield at Lacombe (2002 to 2005) and Lethbridge (2003 to 2005), Alberta, Canada. High seeding rates (≥400 seeds/m2) were used in all years to maximize crop competitive ability. Spring cereals achieved high crop-plant densities (>250 plants/m2) at most sites, but winter cereals had lower plant densities due to winterkill, particularly at Lethbridge in 2004. All winter cereals and spring barley were highly effective at reducing weed biomass at Lacombe for the first 3 yr of the study. Weed suppression was less consistently affected by winter cereals in the last year at Lacombe and at Lethbridge, primarily due to poor winter survival. Grain yields were highest for spring triticale and least for spring wheat at Lacombe, with winter cereals intermediate. At Lethbridge, winter cereals had higher grain yields in 2003 whereas spring cereals had higher yields in 2004 and 2005. Winter cereals were generally more effective at suppressing weed growth than spring cereals if a good crop stand was established, but overlap in weed-competitive ability among cultivars was considerable. This information will be used to enhance the sustainable production of winter and spring cereals in traditional and nontraditional agro-ecological zones. © 2010 Weed Science Society of America. Source

Miller J.J.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Curtis T.W.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Bremer E.,Symbio Ag Consulting | Chanasyk D.S.,University of Alberta | Willms W.D.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Off-stream watering troughs may reduce surface water pollution by keeping nutrients away from natural water bodies, but may increase nutrient contaminant of groundwater. The objective of this study was to determine to what extent off-stream watering troughs active for 2 to 7 yr caused enrichment and leaching of soil test P (STP) and KCl-extractable NO3-N. The study was conducted in the Lower Little Bow (LLB) River watershed of southern Alberta, Canada. Soil samples were obtained at three recently installed off-stream watering troughs, four active cattle watering sites adjacent to the LLB River, and at two sites along a fenced reach of the river with no cattle access. At each location, samples were obtained along four 100-m transects. Surface (0-5 cm) soil immediately adjacent to the LLB River was not enriched in STP or NO3-N, which was attributed to flushing of nutrients during periods of high flow. Surface soil at distances ≤5 m from the three water troughs was approximately three times higher in STP than surface soil obtained at distances ≥10 m and was seven times higher in NO3-N. Subsurface soil layers adjacent (3m distance) to the three water troughs were not enriched in STP compared with background levels (100 m distance). The subsurface soil adjacent (3m) to the longest active watering trough was enriched in NO3-N to the 60 cm depth compared with background levels (100 m). Greater nutrient enrichment at the off-stream watering troughs than at the cattle watering sites adjacent to the river suggested that this beneficial management practice (BMP) was effective in shifting nutrient distribution away from the river. Source

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