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Relating preseason soil nitrogen to maize yield in tree legume-maize rotations

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Legumes can be an important source of N for cereals in tropical subsistence farming systems that use little or no fertilizers. Our objective was to identify measures of soil N availability following growth of diverse legumes that correlated with yield of a subsequent unfertilized maize (Zea mays L.) crop. Unfertilized maize followed nine 3-yr-old systems (six monocultures of planted trees legumes a groundnut [Arachis hypogea L.]-maize-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotation an uncultivated fallow with natural regrowth of vegetation and unfertilized maize monoculture) in two experiments on a Ustic Rhodustalf in eastern Zambia. Total soil C and N before maize planting were not related to grain yield of maize. Preseason soil inorganic N (NO3 + NH4) aerobic N mineralization and light-fraction N (N in macroorganic matter 150–2000 µm and

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