Dryland residue and soil organic matter as influenced by tillage, crop rotation, and cultural practice
- 479 Downloads
Novel management practices are needed to increase dryland soil organic matter and crop yields that have been declining due to long-term conventional tillage with spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-fallow system in the northern Great Plains, USA. The effects of tillage, crop rotation, and cultural practice were evaluated on dryland crop biomass (stems + leaves) yield, surface residue, and soil organic C (SOC) and total N (STN) at the 0–20 cm depth in a Williams loam (fine-loamy, mixed, superactive, frigid, Typic Argiustolls) from 2004 to 2007 in eastern Montana, USA. Treatments were two tillage practices [no-tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT)], four crop rotations [continuous spring wheat (CW), spring wheat-pea (Pisum sativum L.) (W-P), spring wheat-barley (Hordeum vulgaris L.) hay-pea (W-B-P), and spring wheat-barley hay-corn (Zea mays L.)-pea (W-B-C-P)], and two cultural practices [regular (conventional seed rates and plant spacing, conventional planting date, broadcast N fertilization, and reduced stubble height) and ecological (variable seed rates and plant spacing, delayed planting, banded N fertilization, and increased stubble height)]. Crop biomass and N content were 4 to 44% greater in W-B-C-P than in CW in 2004 and 2005 and greater in ecological than in regular cultural practice in CT. Soil surface residue amount and C and N contents were greater in NT than in CT, greater in CW, W-P, and W-B-C-P than in W-B-P, and greater in 2006 and 2007 than in 2004 and 2005. The SOC and STN concentrations at 0–5 cm were 4 to 6% greater in CW than in W-P or W-B-P in NT and CT from 2005 and 2007. In 2007, SOC content at 10–20 cm was greater in W-P and W-B-P than in W-B-C-P in CT but STN was greater in W-B-P and W-B-C-P than in CW in NT. From 2004 to 2007, SOC and STN concentrations varied at 0–5 cm but increased at 5–20 cm. Diversified crop rotation and delayed planting with higher seed rates and banded N fertilization increased the amount of crop biomass returned to the soil and surface residue C and N. Although no-tillage increased surface residue C and N, continuous nonlegume cropping increased soil C and N levels at the surface layer compared with other crop rotations. Continued return of crop residue from 2004 to 2007 may increase soil C and N levels but long-term studies are needed to better evaluate the effect of management practices on soil C and N levels under dryland cropping systems in the northern Great Plains.
KeywordsCarbon sequestration Crop rotation Cultural practice Nitrogen storage Plant biomass Surface residue Tillage
We acknowledge the help provided by Mark Gaffri, Michael Johnson, and Rene Francis for field work and Joy Barsotti, Johnny Rieger, and Christopher Russell for soil and residue sampling in the field and analysis in the laboratory.
- Aase JK, Schaefer GM (1996) Economics of tillage practices and spring wheat and barley crop sequence in northern Great Plains. J Soil Water Conserv 51:167–170Google Scholar
- Black AL, Tanaka DL (1997) A conservation tillage cropping system study in the northern Great Plains of the United States. In: Paul EA (ed) Soil organic matter in temperate agroecosystems: Long term experiments in North America. CRC, Boca Raton, pp 335–342Google Scholar
- Campbell CA, Brandt SA, Biederbeck VO, Zentner RP, Schnitzer M (1992) Effects of crop rotations and rotation phase on characteristics of soil organic matter in a Dark Brown Chernozemic soil. Can J Soil Sci 72:403–416Google Scholar
- Dhuyvetter KC, Thompson CR, Norwood CA, Halvorson AD (1996) Economics of dryland cropping systems in the Great Plains. A review. J Prod Agric 9:216–222Google Scholar
- Fenster C R, Owens HI, Follett RH (1977) Conservation tillage for wheat in the Great Plains. USDA Ext. Serv. Bull. PA-1190. U.S. Govt. Print. Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
- Fryrear DW (1985) Soil cover and wind erosion. Trans ASAE 28:781–784Google Scholar
- Gregory PJ, Ingram JSI, Anderson R, Betts RA, Brovkin V, Chase TN, Grace PR, Gray AJ, Hamilton N, Hardy TB, Howden SM, Jenkins A, Meybeck M, Olsson M, Ortiz-Montasterio I, Palm CA, Payn TW, Rummukainen M, Schulze RE, Thiem M, Valentin C, Wikinson MJ (2002) Environmental consequences of alternative practices for intensifying crop production. Agric Ecosys Environ 88:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Haas HJ, Willis WO, Bond JJ (1974) Summer fallow in the western United States. In: USDA Cons. Res. Rep. No. 17. pp 2–35. U.S. Govt. Print. Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
- Lal R, Follett RF, Kimble J (1999) Managing U.S. cropland to sequester carbon in soil. J Soil Water Conserv 53:374–381Google Scholar
- Littell RC, Milliken GA, Stroup WW, Wolfinger RD (1996) SAS system for mixed models. SAS Inst. Inc., CaryGoogle Scholar
- Nelson DW, Sommers LE (1996) Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: Sparks DL et al (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part 3. Chemical methods, SSSA Book Ser. 5. SSSA, Madison, pp 961–1010Google Scholar