Submitted to: Agronomic, Economic and Environmental Digest
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2003
Publication Date: 10/1/2003
Citation: REICOSKY, D.C. SOIL ORGANIC MATTER: BENEFITS OF DIRECT SEEDING TO PRODUCTIVITY AND ENVIRONMENT. AGRONOMIC, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL DIGEST. 2003. P. 45-51.
Technical Abstract: Agricultural management of soil organic matter may be one of the most cost effective ways to slow processes of global warming. Direct seeding aims to conserve, improve and make more efficient use of natural resources through integrated management of available soil, water and biological resources. Numerous environmental benefits may result from agricultural activities that sequester soil carbon (C) and contribute to environmental security. As part of no-regret strategies, practices that sequester soil C help reduce soil erosion and improve water quality and are consistent with more sustainable and less chemically-dependent agriculture. While we learn more about soil C storage and its central role in direct environmental benefits, we must understand the secondary environmental benefits and what they mean to production agriculture. Increasing soil C storage through direct seeding can increase infiltration, increase fertility and nutrient cycling, decrease wind and water erosion, minimize compaction, enhance water quality, decrease C emissions, impede pesticide movement and generally enhance environmental quality. The sum of each individual benefit adds to a total package with major significance on a global scale. Incorporating C storage in conservation planning demonstrates concern for our global resources and presents a positive role for soil C that will have a major impact on our future quality of life.