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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Wind erodibility, soil moisture, and freeze-thaw frequency: Implications of harvesting corn residue for energy feedstock in southwest Kansas

item Ihde, Nicholas
item Presley, Deann
item Tatarko, John
item Stone, Loyd

Submitted to: Abstract of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/4/2009
Publication Date: 11/1/2009
Publication URL:
Citation: Ihde, N.A., Presley, D., Tatarko, J., Stone, L. 2009. Wind erodibility, soil moisture, and freeze-thaw frequency: Implications of harvesting corn residue for energy feedstock in southwest Kansas. Abstract of Agronomy Meetings. Paper No. 112-1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Dependence on foreign oil has led to increased interest in bioenergy, and the harvest of crop residues for the production of cellulosic ethanol. Crop residue has many important functions in production agriculture systems, among which are protection of the soil surface from wind and water erosion and minimizing water evaporation. A proposed cellulosic ethanol plant in southwest Kansas will require an estimated 444,000 Mg of biomass annually. In 2007, irrigated corn production was the dominant land use in Stevens County, KS, comprising 22% of the land area, and 38% of the harvested ha, with an average irrigated grain yield of 0.23 Mg ha-1. The objective of this experiment is to determine the impact of residue removal, by conventional methods (stalk chop, rake, and round bale) on the wind erodibility and precipitation capture and storage of two productive and important irrigated agricultural soils of southwest Kansas. Residue was harvested in October 2008 from two producer-owned fields with differing soil textures. Sensors were installed in plots to monitor soil temperature and moisture. Bulk density, gravimetric moisture, dry aggregate stability, tensile strength, and soil roughness were determined in December 2008 and April 2009. Generally, soil temperatures were slightly warmer (about 1°C) and soil moisture was wetter beneath crop residue at both sites. Sensors indicated one freeze-thaw event for the residue-removed plots in the loam-textured soil, and three freeze-thaw events for the residue-removed plots in the fine sandy loam soil. A strip tillage operation in February 2009 roughened the soil surface. Evidence of wind erosion in plots where residue was harvested included loose sand on physical crusts and soil deposition on the leeward side of remaining residue. For both sites, soil was more aggregated and individual clods were stronger for soil sampled from plots where crop residue was not harvested.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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