Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Research Project #434640

Research Project: Soil Carbon Stocks and Corn Stover Management: Data Mining

Location: Soil Management Research

Project Number: 5060-11610-003-003-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2018
End Date: Nov 15, 2021

1. Conduct a synthesis and meta-analysis for corn stover management data located within the ARS-REAP and GRACEnet database, and from published literature to establish scientifically- based guidelines of what mass of corn stover may be harvested without impacting soil organic carbon stocks. 2. Determine the most effective management practice(s) for stover harvest and management appropriate to both regional and edaphic site characteristics that maintain or increase soil carbon stocks.

Aggregate and synthesize scientific data from the ARS-REAP and ARS GRACEnet datasets from across the United States. This first assessment will be based upon the data within the public database. Empirical determination of the mass of residue needed to be returned to the soil so that soil organic carbon stocks remain constant will be determined for each set individually. Furthermore, to understand variation in responses, additional data from the literature will be included for meta-analysis. All data will undergo quality control and assurance. For example, it will be essential to document how the soil carbon data was determined to assure soil carbon stocks are calculated in a consistent manner. The preferred soil carbon method is by combustion, adjusted for carbonates as needed and to have corresponding soil bulk density measurements. Sampling from three points in time are necessary to reasonably calculate a change in soil carbon stock. Management (i.e., stover harvest rate and/or return rate, crops, crop rotation, yield, tillage depth, tillage implement, tillage frequency, nutrient management, manure application, other), and soil (soil texture, pH, other) and climatic (from nearest weather station) data will be aggregated. Once aggregated statistical meta-analysis will be conducted to assess the relation between soil carbon stocks and corn stover management in the midwestern corn producing region. The aggregated previously published data used by the life cycle analysis modelers of the team will be used for model calibration and validation. An advisory team which will include scientists from the non-government agencies, producers, federal and university scientists, and representatives from the National Corn Growers Association will meet periodically to discuss progress.