Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 7, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Soil organic matter affects nearly every aspect of crop production. Soils with higher amounts of organic matter resist compaction, and have increased water holding capacity, infiltration, fertility, and disease resistance. All these factors ultimately affect productivity. Conservation tillage systems can increase soil organic matter in the southeastern USA. These systems leave more carbon in the soil in the form of organic matter than is lost through erosion or decomposition. Conservation tillage systems also reduce greenhouse gas emissions because reduced tillage uses less fossil fuel used over the course of a growing season. The amount of soil organic matter that can accumulate in a particular field depends on the cropping history, the current production methods, the soil, and variations in temperature and rainfall patterns.