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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Mitigating Agricultural Sources of Particulate Matter and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Pacific Northwest

Location: Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research

Title: Soil quality differences among long-term no-till irrigated crop rotations to replace burning and plowing continuous wheat

item Kennedy, Ann
item Stubbs, Tami
item Schillinger, William

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Heavy residue in irrigated wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production in the Inland Pacific Northwest of the United States (PNW) is a problem often resolved by burning. We investigated the soil quality benefits of a diversified no-till crop rotation with various residue management practices compared to the burn and plow system for producing continuous winter wheat. We established a 6-year no-till field experiment to evaluate soil quality and soil microbial changes occurring during two complete cycles of a 3-year irrigated crop rotation. Winter wheat, spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), or winter canola (Brassica napus L.) were sown (1) into standing residue; (2) with residue removed and, (3) after residue was burned. The traditional practice of continuous annual winter wheat sown after burning residue and inverting the topsoil with a moldboard plow was included as a check treatment. Soil organic carbon (SOC) increased each year at the surface depths for all treatments. The SOC increase was least for plow and direct seed burn treatments and was greatest for stubble remaining or removed treatments. We found enzyme activities to correlate with the SOC levels. The burn plow and burn direct seed treatments developed similar microbial communities, while the direct seed residue standing and removed treatments were similar to each other and to the undisturbed noncultivated sites compared to the other plots. The communities found in direct seed approached that of the undisturbed soils as time progressed and did not differ between residue removal or left on the surface. This information will help growers and field persons assess management practices to increase yield, improve soil carbon and protect the environment.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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