Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2003
Publication Date: 11/4/2003
Citation: Liebig, M.A., Tanaka, D.L., Karn, J.F., Hanson, J.D. 2003. Integrated crop/livestock systems in the northern plains: management effects on near-surface soil condition. Agronomy Abstracts. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Integrated crop/livestock production systems can alter near-surface soil properties resulting in either positive or negative effects on the environment. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a multiple-crop swath grazing system on near-surface soil properties. The study was conducted approximately 5 km southwest of Mandan, ND on a site characterized by gently rolling uplands (0-3% slope) with a silty loess mantle overlying till. Two pasture types (annual cropping under no-till management [AC] and western wheatgrass [WW]) were evaluated for their effects on near-surface soil properties before and after grazing within zones differing in frequency of cattle traffic and in ungrazed areas. Assessments of infiltration rate, soil bulk density, soil pH, extractable N and P, potentially mineralizable N (PMN), and soil organic carbon (SOC) were conducted. Assessments at the end of a three-year AC sequence indicated AC resulted in a 9 and 30% decline in soil pH and PMN, respectively, compared to WW. However, SOC and infiltration rate did not differ between pastures. Results from this study indicate swath grazing of annual crops produced with no-till management is a viable production system in the Northern Plains from the standpoint of maintaining soil conditions necessary for supporting critical agroecosystem functions.