Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/22/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Assessing changes in soil quality can help guide conservation policy and practices. This study was conducted to determine the utility of several soil properties as indicators of soil quality. Samples of Ascalon soil were taken from native range, grass-legume hay pasture, CRP, wheat in rotation with other crops, and wheat-fallow land uses in the central High Plains. Organic C and N concentrations were greatest in the range and pasture soils, followed by CRP, with the two wheat cropping systems having the least. Microbial biomass C, potentially mineralizable N, and microbial respiration followed similar trends. Water-stable aggregation was greatest under range, pasture, and CRP and least in the cropped systems and was weakly correlated with organic C. Microbial biomass accounted for 5% of organic C and this percentage did not vary among land uses. Our results show that soil quality differs among land uses. The CRP program appears to have improved soil quality, relative to the wheat cropping systems.