Root, soil water and nitrogen dynamics in a catch crop-soil system in the Wageningen Rhizolab.

A.M. van Dam, P.A. Leffelaar

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Catch crops (winter rye [Secale cereale] and fodder radish [Raphanus sativus]) were grown on lysimeters with rhizotron facilities in Wageningen, Netherlands, from September-March (1993-94) and August-March (1994-95) in order to study root growth and water and nitrogen dynamics under different regimes of irrigation and N supply. Catch crops took up 20-30 g N/msuperscript 2, of which 37-48% was present in dead leaves in March. Rooting depth increased by 2.6 cm/day for both species at the start of the growing season. Catch cropping reduced the NO-3-N concentration in the soil considerably, initially in the top layers and then further down the soil profile. The reduction in total leached N was similar to the total crop N uptake. Nitrate-N concentrations in leached water were reduced by 49-85 mg/litre (62-99%), depending upon N availability and irrigation. Due to catch cropping the NO-3-N concentration in the percolate decreased with increasing irrigation (or precipitation), whereas the amount of N leached increased with irrigation. Evapotranspiration from a catch cropped soil was close to the potential evapotranspiration under optimal growth conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-284
JournalNetherlands Journal of Agricultural Science
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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