Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #107129


item Reicosky, Donald

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (Mcgraw-Hill)
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agricultural ecosystems can play a significant role in production and consumption of greenhouse gases, specifically, carbon dioxide. Information is needed on the mechanism and magnitude of gas generation and emission from agricultural soils with specific emphasis on tillage mechanisms. This work reviewed the effect of different tillage methods on the short-term CO2 2loss from soils in the northern Corn Belt. The tillage methods were moldboard plow only, moldboard plow plus disk harrow twice, disk harrow and chisel plow using standard tillage equipment following a wheat (T. Aestivum L) crop compared with no tillage. The CO2 flux was measured with a large portable chamber commonly used to measure crop canopy gas exchange. The moldboard plow treatment buried nearly all of the residue and left the soil in a rough, loose, open condition and resulted in maximum CO2 loss. The short-term carbon dioxide losses 5 hours after four conservation tillage tools were only 31% of that of the moldboard plow. The moldboard plow los 13.8 times as much CO2 as the soil area not tilled while different conservation tillage tools lost only 4.3 times. The smaller CO2 loss following conservation tillage tools is significant and suggests progress in developing conservation tillage tools that can enhance soil carbon management. Conservation tillage reduces the extent, frequency and magnitude of mechanical disturbance caused by the moldboard plow and reduces the air-filled macropores and slows the rate of carbon oxidation. Any effort to decrease tillage intensity and maximize residue return should result in carbon sequestration for enhanced environmental quality.