|SARR, SAIT - Kentucky State University|
|GEBREMEDHIN, MAHETEME - Kentucky State University|
|COYNE, MARK - University Of Kentucky|
Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2018
Publication Date: 11/6/2018
Citation: Sarr, S., Gebremedhin, M., Coyne, M., Sistani, K.R. 2018. Assessing animal manure and cover crop use to improve agricultural soil quality in Kentucky. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. Paper No. 204.
Technical Abstract: In many agricultural regions, degraded and resource depleted soils are the main cause of low agricultural productivity and environmental problems. With time, these concerns have grown at an accelerated rate. Consequently, there is growing interest in developing soil conservation practices that promote sustainable agricultural soil use by improving the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. Aspects of conservation practices that are gaining increased attention among farmers are using minimum tillage, cover crops, and manure application. In this study, the on-farm benefits of cover crops and manure on physical, chemical, and biological soil properties was examined during two years (2015-2017). Soybean and field corn were used as summer annual crops planted on minimum tilled soils. Soil samples were taken before, during, and after each cropping season. Soils were analyzed for bulk density, organic carbon content, pH, total P, K, minor elements, and soil nitrogen mineralization. While cover crops and manure enhanced soil mineralization rate (P < 0.05), they did not improve any other measured soil quality indicator. Overall, while using cover crops and manure appears to have had beneficial effect on a biological soil quality property such as soil N mineralization, longer-term observation and measurement are necessary to assess physical and chemical soil quality indicators.