Submitted to: International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/31/2001
Publication Date: 12/31/2001
Citation: DIACK, M., STOTT, D.E. DEVELOPMENT OF A SOIL QUALITY INDEX FOR THE CHALMERS SOIL SERIES IN THE MIDWESTERN USA. CD-ROM. WEST LAFAYETTE, IN: INTERNATIONAL SOIL CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS. 2001.
Technical Abstract: With the progressive degradation of agricultural soils, there is a new emphasis on using the concept of soil quality as a sensitive and dynamic way to document the conditions of soils, how they respond to management changes, and their resilience to stress. This study relates soil physical, chemical, and biological property changes under various long- term management systems to a soil quality index. The study was conducted on an experimental field that had been under the same set of management systems for 16 years. There were 12 tillage and crop rotation combinations available for sampling. Sealing index, as a measure of aggregate stability, decreased with decreasing tillage intensity. However, infiltration rate was highest in the chisel plow system. Total C and N, microbial biomass C (MBC), particulate organic C (POC) and fluorescein released from enzyme activity, fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis, were significantly greater in conservation systems as compared to conventional tillage practices. Tillage appeared to be the major contributor in the soil property changes with crop rotation effect being minor. Using soil erodibility as the baseline to develop a set of soil quality indicators, a standard scoring function enabled us to rate soil quality levels. Results showed that chisel plow system had higher quality level than no-till and moldboard plow while corn/soybean/wheat presented the lowest soil quality level among crop rotations. These results suggested that soil biochemical properties are potential indicators of soil quality with regard to soil erodibility.