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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Residue Removal Afects the Carbon Content of No-Till Soils

Authors
item Potter, Kenneth
item Torbert, Henry

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2003
Publication Date: December 8, 2003
Citation: Potter, K.N., Torbert, H.A. 2003. Residue removal affects the carbon content of no-till soils. Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Supplement. Abstract 842A-0932.

Technical Abstract: No-till crop management often results in increased soil organic carbon contents. However, the effect of residue removal for fuel or animal fodder on soil carbon content is not well understood, especially with no-till management practices. We utilized a multiyear study at six locations in central Mexico, with a wide range of soil and climatic conditions to determine the effect of varying rates of residue removal and no-till management on soil carbon content. Treatments consisted of annual moldboard plowing and no-till management practices with 100\%, 67\%, 33\% and none of the corn (Zea mays) crop residue retained on the no-till soil surface. Even when all crop residues were removed, no-till practices maintained carbon levels above that of moldboard plowing at five of the six locations. Retaining crop residues affected the soil carbon content differently depending on climatic conditions. Retaining crop residues on the soil surface increased soil carbon content at a much faster rate in cool conditions than in warm tropical conditions. Carbon content was greater in regions with higher amounts of rainfall than in drier regions. Retaining crop residues on the soil surface with no-till will usually increase soil carbon content, but climatic conditions should be considered to determine if crop residue would be more effectively utilized for energy production or animal fodder.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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