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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335703

Research Project: Improving Air Quality, Soil Health and Nutrient Use Efficiency to Increase Northwest Agroecosystem Performance

Location: Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research

Title: Sediment and PM10 flux from no-tillage cropping systems in the Pacific Northwest

Author
item Sharratt, Brenton
item Young, Francis - Retired Ars Employee
item Feng, Gary

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2017
Publication Date: 5/5/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5863778
Citation: Sharratt, B.S., Young, F.L., Feng, G.G. 2017. Sediment and PM10 flux from no-tillage cropping systems in the Pacific Northwest. Agronomy Journal. 109:1-9.

Interpretive Summary: Wind erosion from the traditional winter wheat – summer fallow dryland cropping system degrades air quality in the Inland Pacific Northwest United States. Although annual spring cereal cropping systems are not yet economically viable in the drier portion on the Pacific Northwest, these systems have the potential to reduce the risk of wind erosion due to greater retention of crop residue on the soil surface in subsequent years as compared with the wheat-fallow system. We found a reduction in wind erosion from spring cereal cropping systems as compared to the winter wheat – summer fallow system in both spring and autumn when soils are most susceptible to erosion. Federal, state, and commercial cereal plant breeders are tasked to develop spring cereal cultivars that are more efficient in producing grain in water-limiting environments, which will improve the economic viability of spring cereal crops in this extremely dry agricultural region.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion is a concern in the Inland Pacific Northwest (PNW) United States where the emission of fine particulates from winter wheat – summer fallow (WW/SF) dryland cropping systems during high winds degrade air quality. Although no-tillage cropping systems are not yet economically viable, these systems may reduce the risk for wind erosion due to retention of crop residue and soil aggregates and crusts as compared with tillage-based cropping systems. We examined sediment and PM10 flux from reduced-tillage WW/SF, no-tillage wheat/chemical fallow (NTW/CF), and no-tillage spring barley/spring wheat (NTSB/SW) using a portable wind tunnel. Horizontal sediment flux, wind speed, and PM10 (particulates less than or equal to 10 µm in diameter) concentration were measured inside the tunnel after sowing wheat in spring and late summer on four replications of the rotations. Sediment and PM10 fluxes were an order of magnitude greater in late summer than spring. After sowing wheat in spring, sediment and PM10 fluxes were greater for the NTSB/SW than NTW/CF rotation while, after sowing winter wheat in late summer, sediment and PM10 fluxes were greater for the WW/SF than the NTSB/SW rotation. Our results suggest that wind erosion and PM10 emissions can be substantially reduced using no tillage cropping systems in the PNW.