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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399600

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: A proposed benchmark for interpreting potassium permanganate oxidizable carbon in Missouri corn systems

item SVEDIN, JEFF - University Of Missouri
item Kitchen, Newell
item Veum, Kristen
item Ransom, Curtis
item ANDERSON, STEPHEN - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2022
Publication Date: 11/6/2022
Citation: Svedin, J.D., Kitchen, N.R., Veum, K.S., Ransom, C.J., Anderson, S.H. 2022. A proposed benchmark for interpreting potassium permanganate oxidizable carbon in Missouri corn systems [abstract]. ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting, November 6-9, 2022, Baltimore, Maryland. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The absence of clear empirical relationships between soil health and agronomic outcomes remains an obstacle to widespread adoption of soil health assessments in row crop systems. The objectives of this research were 1) determine whether soil health indicators are connected to corn (Zea mays L.) productivity, and 2) establish interpretive benchmarks for soil health indicators in Missouri. The objectives were accomplished by collecting corn grain yield at 446 monitoring sites (37 m^2) in 84 commercial production fields in 2018-2020. Soil health and soil fertility samples were collected prior to planting at each site. This data, along with site-specific soil and weather data, were modeled using traditional stepwise regression and nonparametric random forest (RF) and conditional inference forest (CIF) approaches. Root-mean-square-errors were similar (1.4-1.5 Mg/ha) with distinct R^2 improvements over stepwise regression for both CIF (R^2 = 0.45) and RF (R^2 = 0.46) algorithms. Only seasonal rainfall and potassium permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC) were included as top factors governing grain productivity in each model approach, thus demonstrating a regionally robust empirical relationship between POXC and grain productivity. Partial dependency analysis and two decision tree approaches identified 415 mg POXC/kg as a threshold for optimal grain productivity, providing a framework for regional interpretation of on-farm soil health assessments. Little evidence was found connecting grain productivity with autoclaved citrate extractable protein and soil respiration. These findings underscore the power of POXC as an emerging SH indicator to assess and quantify soil management effects on grain productivity.