Leguminous winter cover crops have been utilized in conservation systems to partially meet nitrogen (N) requirements of succeeding summer cash crops, but the potential of summer legumes to reduce N requirements of a winter annual grass, used as a cover crop, has not been extensively examined. This study assessed the N contribution of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) residues to a subsequent rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop grown in a conservation system on a Dothan sandy loam (fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Plinthic Kandiudults) at Headland, AL USA during the 2003-2005 growing seasons. Treatments were arranged in a split plot design, with main plots of peanut residue retained or removed from the soil surface, and subplots as N application rates (0, 34, 67 and 101 kg ha-1) applied in the fall. Peanut residue had minimal to no effect on rye biomass yields, N content, carbon (C) /N ratio, or N, P, K, Ca and Zn uptake. Additional N increased rye biomass yield, and N, P, K, Ca, and Zn uptakes. Peanut residue does not contribute significant amounts of N to a rye cover crop grown as part of a conservation system, but retaining peanut residue on the soil surface could protect the soil from erosion early in the fall and winter before a rye cover crop grows sufficiently to protect the typically degraded southeastern USA soils.
N immobilization; N mineralization; legume; nitrogen fertilizer