EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Wheat Cover Crop Management Impacts Corn Yield, Soil Nitrogen Dynamics, and Nitrous Oxide Emission 

Oladapo Adeyemi and Amir Sadeghpour
Oladapo Adeyemi and Amir Sadeghpour
  • School of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, United States of America (

Agricultural soil  management is the main source of nitrous oxide (N2O) emission, contributing 78% of total N2O emissions. Winter cereal cover crops (WCCCs) are recommended as the best in-field management practice to minimize nutrient loss to Illinois water and the Gulf of Mexico. WCCCs including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) are often terminated 3-4 weeks prior to planting corn. Delaying termination increases nitrogen (N) uptake and decreases N leaching potential. Literature is scant on the effect of wheat termination (early vs. late or cover crop removal) on corn yield and N2O emission during corn growing season. The objective of the study includes evaluating effect of wheat termination management vs. a no-cover crop control on (I) corn leaf area index (LAI) and grain yield; (II) soil nitrate-N, ammonium-N, and total N dynamics; (III) soil volumetric water content (VWC) and temperature trends; (IV) soil N2O emission; and (V) yield-scaled N2O emissions. We found that Corn yield was higher in Fallow and explained by peak LAI values. Majority of N2O emissions occurred after N fertilization prior to corn V10 growth stage. Soil nitrate-N had its peak period after sidedressing N coinciding with peak N2O emissions for most of cover crop treatments. Yield-scaled N2O emission were lowest in the fallow in both years and varies across other cover crop treatments in 2020 and 2021 reflecting on lower N balances in that treatment. Average soil VWC prior to corn V10 growth stage explained 74% of soil N2O-N emissions indicating when N is supplied in high amount, soil VWC drives N2O-N emissions. Gram + bacteria was negatively related to cumulative N2O-N emissions.

How to cite: Adeyemi, O. and Sadeghpour, A.: Wheat Cover Crop Management Impacts Corn Yield, Soil Nitrogen Dynamics, and Nitrous Oxide Emission , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8625,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file