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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377436

Research Project: Strategies to Improve Soil and Pest Management in Organic Vegetable and Strawberry Production Systems

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Soil carbon and nitrogen data during eight years of cover crop and compost treatments in organic vegetable production

item White, Kathryn
item Brennan, Eric
item Cavigelli, Michel

Submitted to: Data in Brief
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2020
Publication Date: 11/1/2020
Citation: White, K.E., Brennan, E.B., Cavigelli, M.A. 2020. Soil carbon and nitrogen data during eight years of cover crop and compost treatments in organic vegetable production. Data in Brief. 33. Article 106481.

Interpretive Summary: This paper provides 8 years of raw data on total carbon and nitrogen inputs and changes in the Salinas Organic Cropping System Study that includes eight systems that differ in cover cropping frequency and compost inputs. It also provides data on the annual changes in soil nitrate and a biologically active carbon fraction in the soil. This is an important data set because it is from the longest ongoing study in the U.S. that is focused on high-value, tillage intensive, cool-season, organic vegetable production. This information is improving our understanding of how management practices like cover cropping and compost affect carbon and nitrogen inputs. This can help farmers develop more sustainable production practices.

Technical Abstract: Data presented are on carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) inputs, and changes in soil C and N in eight systems during the first eight years of a tillage-intensive organic vegetable systems study that was focused on romaine lettuce and broccoli production in Salinas Valley on the central coast region of California. The eight systems differed in organic matter inputs from cover crops and urban yard-waste compost. The cover crops included cereal rye, a legume-rye mixture, and a mustard mixture planted at two seeding rates (standard rate 1x versus high rate 3x). There were three legume-rye 3x systems that differed in compost inputs (0 versus 7.6 Mg ha-1 vegetable crop-1) and cover cropping frequency (every winter versus every fourth winter). The data include: (1) changes in soil total organic C and total N concentrations and stocks and total nitrate N (NO3-N) concentrations over 8 years, (2) cumulative above ground and estimated below ground C and N inputs, cover crop and crop N uptake, and harvested crop N export over 8 years, (3) permanganate oxidizable carbon (POX-C) concentrations and stocks at time 0 , years 6 and 8, and (4) cumulative, estimated lettuce and broccoli yields over the 8 years. The C inputs from the vegetables and cover crops included estimates of below ground inputs based on shoot biomass. The data in this article support and augment information presented in the research article “Winter cover crops increase readily decomposable soil carbon, but compost drives total soil carbon during eight years of intensive, organic vegetable production in California”.