Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #216952

Title: Cropping Intensity Effects on Organic Carbon, Aggregate Stability, and Hydraulic Properties of a No-till Loam

item Benjamin, Joseph
item Mikha, Maysoon

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/2007
Publication Date: 11/5/2007
Citation: Benjamin, J.G., Mikha, M.M. 2007. Cropping Intensity Effects on Organic Carbon, Aggregate Stability, and Hydraulic Properties of a No-till Loam. Agronomy Abstracts. Presented at the International American Society of Agronomy meetings, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America (ASA/CSSA/SSSA) annual meetings. Nov. 5-9, 2007. New Orleans, LA.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Improved no-till management techniques have allowed greater cropping intensity in the central Great Plains. Organic carbon (OC) contents in the soil have increased because of greater plant biomass production and less carbon loss from oxidation. Increased OC in the soil leads to improved soil physical properties and better crop production. The plots were located at the Central Great Plains Research Station at Akron, Colorado in a Weld loam. Samples were collected at depth increments of 20-95 mm, 115-180 mm, 200-275 mm, and 295-370 mm. We measured OC increase from plots in a winter wheat–fallow rotation (WF), a winter wheat, corn, millet rotation (WCM), and a permanent grass treatment in 2005, after 15 years in the respective system. The permanent grass plots had the greater OC, greater water stable soil aggregates > 0.25 mm (WSMA), and greater saturated hydraulic conductivity compared with cropped plots. Plots with the WCM rotation had greater OC and WSMA than plots with the WF rotation. There were no cropping system effects on bulk density or pore size distribution. The greatest OC for all plots was in the surface Ap horizon. The greatest WSMA was in the Bt2 horizon at a 295-370 mm depth. There was poor correlation between OC and WSMA but a good correlation between WSMA and other soil properties. Increasing soil OC may improve soil properties over time but many years may be needed for measurable improvements to be noted. Investigation is needed in the constituents of soil OC provided by continuous grass species to identify the greater effects these species have on improving soil properties compared with crop species.