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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL CARBON CYCLING, TRACE GAS EMISSION, TILLAGE AND CROP RESIDUE MANAGEMENT

Location: Soil Management Research

2006 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Global environmental changes impact agriculture. In turn, agriculture affects global change. Finding balance among societal needs for an affordable supply of food and fiber, and energy in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner is critical. Northern soils tend to cycle carbon more slowly than in southern regions, due to the combined effects of relatively low soil temperature and high soil moisture. Consequently, cool, wet soils may be able to sequester carbon in forms that are stable for longer periods, offering a potentially important way of offsetting increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Understanding the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in these soils will lead to improved land management strategies, including production of biofuel crops, which do not release fossil carbon thus reducing net greenhouse gas emission relative to fossil fuels, and achieve economic benefits for farms and rural communities, and broad environmental benefits for society at large. The continual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, combined with changing mean global temperatures and rainfall distribution, will greatly impact crop growth, development and yield and can directly and indirectly impact soil carbon storage positively or negatively. This research has two general objectives, first to ascertain how agricultural management impacts greenhouse gas emission (N2O, CH4 and CO2) and carbon storage; second, to measure how global climate change may impact agricultural crops. The overall goal is to develop agricultural management systems that can readily adapt to climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas accumulations.

Relevance to ARS National Program Action Plan: This research contributes to the NP 204 Carbon Cycle and Carbon Storage Component Problem Areas on Cropping System and Tillage, Organic Carbon Transformations, Interactions of Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles and Measurement, Validation and Modeling and to the Trace Gases Component Problem Areas on Cropping Systems and Waste Management; Agricultural Ecosystem Impacts Component, Cropping Systems Problem Area and problem areas in Soil Resource Management National Program (NP202) providing data for the development of product 1, management guidelines supporting sustainable harvest of residue and the outcomes of the Integrated Agricultural Systems National Program (NP207).

Potential benefits expected from attaining objectives: • Improved understanding of agriculture’s role as a source or sink in greenhouse gas emissions. • Management systems that foster carbon storage in soil and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. • Increased knowledge of plants’ response to global climate change factors (e.g. heat, elevated CO2)

Anticipated products of the research: • Contribution to national database of greenhouse gas flux and C storage representing cold wet soils. • Contribution to data for the development of regional and national guidelines of management practices (in the form of a decision aid). • Evaluation of computer models created to assess management effects on net greenhouse gas emissions. • Data set and crop coefficients on crop stress indicators, responses and DM partitioning.

This research will provide producers and policy-makers with information on the role of agriculture in the global carbon cycle and approaches to minimize trace gas emissions and foster carbon storage to provide the basis for decisions that are both economically and environmentally sound. It will provide knowledge of plant responses to environmental stress (e.g. heat, elevated CO2). It will provide scientific researchers, agricultural extension specialists, and other educators with new information and data for developing environmentally friendly, and efficient production systems. Local farmers are collaborating for soil carbon studies and trace gas emission experiments (Objective.
1)utilizing local interest to address regional, national and global issues.


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
12 month (2006/2007) 1. 1aA1. Collect trace gas emission data from cool, wet, glacial-till soils under varying managements. 2. 1aA2. Complete EPIC simulation modeling to predict multiple impacts of alternative cropping systems. 3. 1aA3. Conduct laboratory incubations to determine bacterial and fungal components contributing to gas (N2O) flux. 4. 1aB1. Long-term yield data from strip will be summarized, analyzed and prepared for publication. 5. 1aB2. Economic analysis of long-term tillage data will be conducted and prepared for publication. 6. 1aB3. Analysis of carbon pool from archived soil and current year plots. 7. 1b1. Finish first complete year’s data in corn to compare manure and inorganic N effects on CO2 and H2O flux. 8. 1b2. Analysis of microbial biomass C in manure-amended and non-amended fields. 9. 1c1. Collect and summarize 5th year of crop and biomass data. 10. 1c2. Collect above- and below-ground plant biomass and analyze for plant quality. 11. 1d1. Experimental biomass removal plots established, initial soil samples collected. 12. 2a1. Collect plant variables from established field experiments. 13. 2a2. Establish factorial greenhouse experiment on soybean and chickpea. 14. 2b1. Establish field experiment, compile weather data, collect baseline soil data. 15. 2b2. Chemical and statistical analysis of seed and biomass (C:N ratio, structural and non-structural carbohydrates)– adjust sampling based on preliminary results. 16. 2c1. Conduct growth chamber study and collect data on genotypic differences and genetic potential in switchgrass.

24 Month 1. 1aA1. Collect trace gas emission data from cool, wet, glacial-till soils under varying managements. 2. 1aA2. Analyze economic performance of alternative systems during the transition period from conventional system. 3. 1aA3. Analyze data, prepare and submit manuscript on bacterial and fungal influence on gas flux. 4. 1aB1. Analysis of carbon pool from current year plots comparing tillage. 5. 1b1. Analysis of microbial biomass C in manure-amended and non-amended fields. 6. 1c1. Complete chemical analysis and statistical analysis of plant quality from perennials and annual crops for C storage. 7. 1c2. Analyze economic performance of alternative rotations used for C storage. 8. 1d1. Continue yield and biomass from biomass removal study. 9. 2a1. Repeat greenhouse experiment on soybean and chickpea, continue or adjust sampling. 10. 2a2. Collect data on plant variables from established field experiments. 11. 2a3. Conduct chemical and statistical analyses, develop crop coefficients and model crop yield. Prepare manuscript of preliminary results. 12. 2b1. Repeat field experiment, using same design, and adjust sampling as needed. Collect and analyze soil samples after harvest. 13. 2b2. Conduct chemical and statistical analyses; develop crop coefficients and model crop yield based on stress level and inter- and intra-season stress progression. 14. 2c1. Conduct long-term acclimation study evaluating genotypic differences and genetic potential in switchgrass. 15. 2c2. Complete biochemical analysis for GC study evaluating genotypic differences and genetic potential in switchgrass.

36 Month 1. 1aA1. Collect trace gas emission data from cool, wet, glacial-till soils under varying managements. 2. 1aA2. Analyze data, prepare and submit manuscript on bacterial and fungal influence on gas flux. 3. 1aB1. Analysis of carbon pool from current year plots comparing tillage. 4. 1b1. Analysis of microbial biomass C in manure-amended and non-amended fields. 5. 1d1. Continue yield and biomass from biomass removal study. 6. 1d1. Collect trace gas emission on subset of plots in biomass removal study. 7. 2a1. Conduct factorial greenhouse experiment, using two new crops, safflower and wheat. 8. 2a2. Conduct chemical, and statistical analyses, develop crop coefficients and model crop yield. 9. 2b1. Repeat field experiment. Collect and analyze soil samples after harvest. 10. 2b2. Conduct chemical and statistical analyses. 11. 2b3. Review progress, adjust sampling, Develop crop coefficients and model crop yield based on stress level and inter- and intra-season stress progression, prepare manuscript. 12. 2c1. Complete analysis of long-term acclimation study evaluating genotypic differences and genetic potential in switchgrass.

45 Month 1. 1aA1. Summarize emission data over course of 4 yr rotation from cool, wet, glacial-till soils under varying managements. 2. 1bB1. Assessment of carbon pool dynamics from all three sample dates comparing tillage. 3. 1b1. Assessment of microbial C dynamics in manure-amended and non-amended fields. 4. 1d1. Collect soil for surface POM analysis biomass removal study. 5. 1d2. Collect trace gas emission on a subset of plots biomass removal study. 6. 2a1. Repeat greenhouse experiment on safflower and wheat, review progress and identify impact of stress on plant variables and yield. 7. 2a2. Conduct chemical and statistical analyses, and develop crop coefficients and model crop yield. 8. 2a3. Incorporate coefficients derived from all phases of the study in existing climate change simulation models, run and prepare manuscript. 9. 2b1. Final chemical and statistical analyses, prepare manuscript. 10. 2b2. Incorporate coefficients in existing climate change simulation models, run and prepare manuscript. 11. 2c1. Write and publish results analysis of long-term acclimation study evaluating genotypic differences and genetic potential in switchgrass.


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Significant accomplishments for 2006 were listed under CRIS 3645-11000-002-00D, Soil Carbon Cycling, Tillage and Crop Residue Management, which terminated 04/14/2006. The current CRIS replaced 3645-11000-002-00D beginning 4/15/2006.


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
None.


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
None.


4d.Progress report.
None.


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
Significant accomplishments were reported under CRIS 3645-11000-002-00D, Soil Carbon Cycling, Tillage and Crop Residue Management, which terminated 04/14/2006. The current CRIS replaced 3645-11000-002-00D beginning 4/15/2006.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
Technology transfer activities were listed under CRIS 3645-11000-002-00D, Soil Carbon Cycling, Tillage and Crop Residue Management, which terminated 04/14/2006. The current CRIS replaced 3645-11000-002-00D beginning 4/15/2006.


7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
None.


Review Publications
Franzluebbers, A.J., Follett, R.F., Johnson, J.M., Liebig, M.A., Gregorich, E.G., Parkin, T.B., Smith, J.L., Del Grosso, S.J., Jawson, M.D., Martens, D.A. 2006. Agricultural exhaust: a reason to invest in soil. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 61(3):98A-101A.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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