Figure 2 illustrates the typical changes in
soil organism numbers and soil plant available N levels that are typical when
high carbon to nitrogen ratio organic material is added to a soil. In this case
plant available nitrogen levels decease during the early stages of decomposition.
However, due to continued soil organism respiration, carbon will leave the system
as carbon dioxide leading to a surplus of soil organism nitrogen which will be
released back into the soil. The nitrogen release rate however, is usually slow.
This means that, just like low carbon to nitrogen ratio materials, the key to
management is matching the nitrogen release with crop requirement.
to Managing nitrogen in cover crop systems