Seven field trials at four research sites were carried out to study the effect of incorporation time of different plant materials on soil mineral N content during two successive seasons. Annual hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), westerwold ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam. var. westerwoldicum) and straw residues of N-fertilized spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) were incorporated into the soil by ploughing in early September, late October and the following May, and by reduced tillage in May. Delaying incorporation of the green manure crop in autumn lessened the risk of N leaching. The higher the crop N and soil NO3-N content, the greater the risk of leaching. Incorporation in the following spring, which lessened the risk of N leaching as compared with early autumn ploughing, often had an adverse effect on the growth of the succeeding crop. After spring barley, the NO3-N content of the soil tended to be high, but the timing of incorporation did not have a marked effect on soil N. With exceptionally high soil mineral N content, N leaching was best inhibited by growing westerwold ryegrass in the first experimental year. ;
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