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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368802

Research Project: Managing Energy and Carbon Fluxes to Optimize Agroecosystem Productivity and Resilience

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Chemical properties in USA loess-derived Chernozems, 1950-2010: Ramifications for the Forest-Steppe of Russia

item BURRAS, C. LEE - Iowa State University
item CHENDEV, YURY - Belgorod State University
item Sauer, Thomas - Tom

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Much of the world's grain production occurs on soils formed under native grasslands. These soils are called Chernozems in Russia and Mollisols in the U.S. In this study, properties of Mollisols in the central U.S. were evaluated over a range of annual rainfall and temperature conditions. Soil moisture affects pH and the presence of carbonate compounds in the soil with higher pH and carbonates closer to the surface in areas with lower rainfall. These and other properties were compared and contrasted for 11 soil series. The results demonstrate trends in soil properties that relate to climatic factors. This information is important for scientists and land managers with interest in how soil properties evolve under changing climate conditions.

Technical Abstract: Chernozems and related “black soils” (USDA Mollisols) are exceptionally important to grain production worldwide. Most have been cropped extensively for 100 years or more. This paper examines the spatial distribution of morphological and chemical properties for 11 representative soil series located across the temperate central plains of the USA with the focus being on Iowa. It also examines how this data has changed with progressively longer farming. All 11 soil series formed from calcareous Late Wisconsinan-aged loess on upland landscapes under native prairie. All are moderately well to well drained. Their mean annual rainfall and temperatures range from 500 to 1000 mm and 6.5 to 13 degrees C, respectively. As expected, typical minimal solum pH and depth of free calcium carbonates is proportional to rainfall. Other data that will be examined in more detail includes expression and thickness of B horizons, magnitude of CEC, depth of minimum base saturation, base ratios and total carbon content (organic and inorganic) to 1.5 m depth. In each case, the data will also be evaluated in terms of how it is changing with increasing cropping duration.