Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2004
Publication Date: 10/31/2004
Citation: Gal, A., Omonode, R., Abney, T.S., Stott, D.E., Vyn, T.J. 2004. Intermittent tillage effects on soil organic carbon relative continuous no-till [abstract] [CD-ROM]. Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts. Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting. October 31-November 4, 2004, Seattle, WA. 2004.
Technical Abstract: No-till management leads to the accumulation of organic carbon near the soil surface. Farmers often plow (chisel or moldboard) formerly no-till soils for crop rotation (e.g. before corn because that crop is perceived to be more likely to suffer a yield loss with no-till than soybean) or to correct a soil management problem. Our objective was to assess the impact of conventional tillage, intermittent tillage systems and no-till on soil organic carbon and total nitrogen mass and distribution to a depth of one meter in a long-term experiment involving a monoculture corn production system. Both soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content decreased with depth increments in all tillage systems. Tillage treatment effects were highly significant in the 0-5 cm depth and significant in the lower depths for organic carbon (OC) and total nitrogen (N). After a 24 year history, continuous no-till resulted in higher OC and total N content than continuous chisel to a one meter depth. Intermittent tillage systems had high OC and N content but with less stratification than continuous no-till. Intermittent A (17 years of plow, 1 year in chisel + 6 years in no-till) resulted in the same overal OC storage as continuous no-till for 24 years. Intermittent B (17 years of plow + 7 years in chisel) resulted in higher OC storage than continuous chisel for 24 years. Utilizing different intermittent tillage practices in conservation tillage systems may account for significant differences in OC and N content of soils particularly near the surface.