Nitrate Leaching from Winter Cereal Cover Crops Using Undisturbed Soil-Column Lysimeters

Cover crops are important management practices for reducing nitrogen (N) leaching, especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is under total maximum daily load (TMDL) restraints. Winter cereals are common cool‐season crops in the Bay watershed, but studies have not directly compared nitrate‐N (NO3–N) leaching losses from these species. A 3‐yr cover crop lysimeter study was conducted in Beltsville, MD, to directly compare NO3–N leaching from a commonly grown cultivar of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), rye (Secale cereale L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), along with a no‐cover control, using eight tension‐drained undisturbed soil column lysimeters in a completely randomized design with two replicates.

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