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The Soil Nitrogen Cycle
and Nitrogen Management


December 2011



By Dr. John E. Sawyer
Professor and Soil Fertility
Extension Specialist
Iowa State University

Email:jsawyer@iastate.edu


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Summary:

This presentation will help crop advisers, consultants, and producers in the Corn Belt and other areas where corn is grown understand the soil nitrogen cycle and how fundamental processes in the cycle relate to nitrogen management practices for corn production. The presentation covers nitrogen as an essential element, the occurrence of nitrogen in the environment, reactivity of nitrogen, nitrogen sources, and various microbial and chemical processes in the nitrogen cycle. Those processes most important and related to crop fertilization are discussed in detail and are then related to nitrogen management practices that influence availability and supply for corn uptake. The information presented will help crop advisers and producers with promotion and implementation of improved practices for corn production and environmental protection.


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