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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 539582, 17 pages
Research Article

N, P, and K Budgets and Changes in Selected Topsoil Nutrients over 10 Years in a Long-Term Experiment with Conventional and Organic Crop Rotations

Arable Crops Division, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, 2849 Kapp, Norway

Received 2 December 2011; Accepted 30 April 2012

Academic Editor: Philip White

Copyright © 2012 Audun Korsaeth. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study presents soil system budgets of N, P and K in six contrasting cropping systems during 10 years of a long-term experiment in southeast Norway. The experiment included systems with arable cash-cropping and with mixed arable-dairy cropping (cash- and fodder crops), with organic and conventional management represented in both groups. All major nutrient inputs and outputs were measured or estimated. State of the art conventional cash-cropping appeared to be balanced in terms of N, whereas conventional mixed cropping had an N surplus. By contrast, less up to date conventional arable cash-cropping and all the organic systems showed indications of soil organic N depletion (negative N budgets). All the organic systems showed that mining of the soil P and K content occurs, whereas the conventional systems all had P and K surpluses. The results corresponded well with measured differences between systems in terms of ignition loss, P-AL, K-AL and K-HNO3 measured in 2009. This study shows that a fertile soil may be exposed to substantial mining of N, P and K over many years before it is detectable by traditional analyses, and that field nutrient budgeting is a feasible, but data-demanding, approach to detect such misbalances at an early stage.