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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381167

Research Project: Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems

Location: Agricultural Systems Research

Title: Carbon dioxide flush as a soil health indicator related to soil properties and crop yields

Author
item Sainju, Upendra
item LIPTZIN, DANIEL - SOIL HEALTH INSTITUTE
item Rana Dangi, Sadikshya

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2021
Publication Date: 7/19/2021
Citation: Sainju, U.M., Liptzin, D., Rana Dangi, S. 2021. Carbon dioxide flush as a soil health indicator related to soil properties and crop yields. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 2021:1-19. https://doi.org/10.1002/saj2.20288.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/saj2.20288

Interpretive Summary: There is a need for simple, rapid, and accurate measurement of soil health indicator that involves microbial activity. Carbon dioxide evolution after 1-4 day incubation of rewetting of dried soils, that measures microbial activity, is one of the promising soil health indicators, but it has not been tested widely in the field condition, especially in dryland cropping systems in the northern Great Plains. Working on two long-term dryland experiments that involved tillage, crop rotation, and nitrogen fertilization treatments, ARS scientists in Sidney, MT in collaboration with Soil Health Institute reported that carbon dioxide evolution at 1- and 4-day incubations were correlated to a number of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties and also related to mean annualized crop yields across years. Carbon dioxide evolution at 1-d incubation was better related to more soil properties and crop yields than the evolution at 4-d incubation. Carbon dioxide evolution at 1-d evolution can be used as a rapid, inexpensive, and reliable indicator of measuring soil health in dryland cropping systems in the northern Great Plains.

Technical Abstract: Carbon dioxide flush following rewetting of dried soils has been recommended as a promising soil health indicator, but it has not been related to most soil properties and crop yields. We evaluated the effect of cropping systems and N fertilization on CO2 flushes at 1- and 4-d incubations following rewetting of dried soils and related to 54 soil physical, chemical, and biological properties and annualized crop yields in two long-term experimental sites in eastern Montana, USA. Treatments included till- and no-till spring wheat (Triticum aestiveum L.), pea (Pisum sativum L.), and fallow rotations with and without N fertilization. Carbon dioxide flushes were lower in till crop-fallow than no-till continuous cropping systems at both sites. Carbon dioxide flush at 1-d incubation was correlated to 8 soil physical, 20 chemical, and 9 biological properties, and at 4-d incubation was correlated to 7 physical, 14 chemical, and 6 biological properties in Sidney. In Froid, CO2 flush at 1-d incubation was correlated to 5 physical, 18 chemical, and 12 biological properties, and at 4-d incubation was correlated to 12 physical, 13 chemical, and 11 biological properties. Carbon dioxide flushes were also related to mean annualized crop yields in both sites, except for the relationship between CO2 flush at 4-d incubation and crop yield in Sidney. Because of enhanced relationship with soil properties and crop yields, CO2 flush at 1-d incubation following rewetting of dried soils can be used as a simple, rapid, reliable, and inexpensive indicator of measuring soil health in dryland cropping systems.