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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Cropland CEAP soil quality assessment update

item Karlen, Douglas - Doug
item Stott, Diane

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2012
Publication Date: 7/22/2012
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Stott, D.E. 2012. Cropland CEAP soil quality assessment update. Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: One goal for the USDA cropland Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was to assess the effects of various conservation practices on soil quality, which is a proactive process for quantifying the long-term impact of crop and soil management practices within agricultural watersheds. Our objectives were to quantify several soil quality indicators, including soil organic carbon (SOC) content, and determine if the Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) could help detect long-term effects of various conservation practices. Near-surface soil samples (0 to 5 cm) were collected from all 14 Cropland CEAP watersheds, two Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Special Emphasis watersheds, and an organic transition farm in New Hampshire. Soil organic carbon (SOC), bulk density (Db), water-filled pore space (WFPS), electrical conductivity (EC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), potentially mineralizable C and N, pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn were measured and the data are being evaluated using the SMAF. The South Fork watershed assessment in central Iowa, conducted on a field-by-field basis, helped identify potential soil-based causes for poor canopy development. This presentation will provide a preliminary review of the results from several of the watersheds and their relationship to the conservation practices being used at those sites.

Last Modified: 09/19/2017
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