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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400026

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Alfalfa for Livestock Utilization, Environmental Protection and Soil Health

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Can alfalfa improve soil carbon storage?

item Gamble, Joshua
item Baker, John
item Feyereisen, Gary

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2022
Publication Date: 11/17/2022
Citation: Gamble, J.D., Baker, J.M., Feyereisen, G.W. 2022. Can alfalfa improve soil carbon storage?. World Alfalfa Congress. San Diego, California. November 14-17, 2022.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF) initiative encourages practices that "result in additional, measurable, and verifiable carbon reductions and sequestration." As a perennial legume, alfalfa assimilates substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, much of which is allocated to its extensive root system and, in turn, provides critical inputs for soil organic carbon (SOC). As a result, including alfalfa in rotation can improve agroecosystem C balance by 23% relative to continuous silage corn. However, more research is needed to explore how specific alfalfa management strategies impact the long-term potential for C storage under various soil and climatic conditions. This presentation will discuss findings from long-term studies in Minnesota to explore the role of alfalfa in improving SOC/agroecosystem C balance; highlight other findings from relevant SOC literature; and discuss current gaps in research.