Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-888d5979f-lv79x Total loading time: 0.311 Render date: 2021-10-25T15:02:37.563Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Cropping system effects on soil quality in the Great Plains: Synthesis from a regional project

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2007

B.J. Wienhold*
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, NE, 68583, USA.
J.L. Pikul Jr
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Brookings, SD, 57006, USA.
M.A. Liebig
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Mandan, ND, 58554, USA.
M.M. Mikha
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Akron, CO, 80720, USA.
G.E. Varvel
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, NE, 68583, USA.
J.W. Doran
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, NE, 68583, USA.
S.S. Andrews
Affiliation:
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Greensboro, NC, 27401, USA.
*
*Corresponding author: bwienhold1@unl.edu

Abstract

Soils perform a number of essential functions affecting management goals. Soil functions were assessed by measuring physical, chemical, and biological properties in a regional assessment of conventional (CON) and alternative (ALT) management practices at eight sites within the Great Plains. The results, reported in accompanying papers, provide excellent data for assessing how management practices collectively affect agronomic and environmental soil functions that benefit both farmers and society. Our objective was to use the regional data as an input for two new assessment tools to evaluate their potential and sensitivity for detecting differences (aggradation or degradation) in management systems. The soil management assessment framework (SMAF) and the agro-ecosystem performance assessment tool (AEPAT) were used to score individual soil properties at each location relative to expected conditions based on inherent soil-forming factors and to compute index values that provide an overall assessment of the agronomic and environmental impact of the CON and ALT practices. SMAF index values were positively correlated with grain yield (an agronomic function) and total organic matter (an agronomic and environmental function). They were negatively correlated with soil nitrate concentration at harvest (an indicator of environmental function). There was general agreement between the two assessment tools when used to compare management practices. Users can measure a small number of soil properties and use one of these tools to easily assess the effectiveness of soil management practices. A higher score in either tool identifies more environmentally and agronomically sustainable management. Temporal variability in measured indicators makes dynamic assessments of management practices essential. Water-filled pore space, aggregate stability, particulate organic matter, and microbial biomass were sensitive to management and should be included in studies aimed at improving soil management. Reductions in both tillage and fallow combined with crop rotation has resulted in improved soil function (e.g., nutrient cycling, organic C content, and productivity) throughout the Great Plains.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

01Oldeman, L.R. 1994. The global extent of soil degradation. In Greenland, D.J. and Szabolcs, I. (eds). Soil Resilience and Sustainable Land Use. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. p. 99118.Google Scholar
02Peterson, G.A., Schlegel, A.J., Tanaka, D.L., and Jones, O.R. 1996. Precipitation use efficiency as affected by cropping and tillage systems. Journal of Production Agriculture 9: 180186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
03Ryan, M. 1999. Is an enhanced soil biological community, relative to conventional neighbours, a consistent feature of alternative (organic and biodynamic) agricultural systems. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 17: 131144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
04Doran, J.W. and Parkin, T.B. 1996. Quantitative indicators of soil quality: a minimum data set. In Doran, J.W. and Jones, A.J. (eds). Methods for Assessing Soil Quality. Soil Science Society of America Special Publication no. 49 Soil Science Society of America Madison, WI. p. 2537.Google Scholar
05Andrews, S.S., Karlen, D.L., and Mitchell, J.P. 2002. A comparison of soil quality indexing methods for vegetable production systems in Northern California. Agricultural Ecosystems and the Environment 90: 2545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
06Larson, W.E. and Pierce, F.J. 1994. The dynamics of soil quality as a measure of sustainable management. In Doran, J.W., Coleman, D.C., Bezdicek, D.F. and Stewart, B.A. (eds). Defining Soil Quality for A Sustainable Environment. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, p. 3751.Google Scholar
07Karlen, D.L. and Stott, D.E. 1994. A framework for evaluating physical and chemical indicators of soil quality. In Doran, J.W., Coleman, D.C., Bezdicek, D.F. and Stewart, B.A. (eds). Defining Soil Quality for A Sustainable Environment. Soil Science Society of America Madison, WI. p. 5372.Google Scholar
08Varvel, G., Reidell, W., Deibert, E., McConkey, B., Tanaka, D., Vigil, M., and Schwartz, R. 2006. Great Plains cropping system studies for soil quality assessment. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 21: 314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
09Pikul, J.L. Jr, Schwartz, R.C., Benjamin, J.G., Baumhardt, R.L., and Merrill, S. 2006. Cropping system influences on soil physical properties in the Great Plains. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 21: 1525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
10Mikha, M.M., Vigil, M.F., Liebig, M., Bowman, R., McConkey, B., Deibert, E., Pikul, J. Jr 2006. Cropping system influences on soil chemical properties and soil quality in the Great Plains. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 21: 2635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
11Liebig, M., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Johnson, J.M.F., Wright, S., and Barbour, N. 2006. Cropping system effects on soil biological characteristics in the Great Plains. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 21: 3648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
12Andrews, S.S., Karlen, D.L., and Cambardella, C.A. 2004. The soil management assessment framework: a quantitative soil quality evaluation method. Soil Science Society of America Journal 68: 19451962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
13Liebig, M.A., Miller, M.E., Varvel, G.E., Doran, J.W., and Hanson, J.D. 2004. AEPAT: a computer program to assess agronomic and environmental performance of management practices in long-term agroecosystem experiments. Agronomy Journal 96: 109115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
14Liebig, M.A. and Varvel, G.E. 2003. Effects of western Corn Belt cropping systems on agroecosystem functions. Agronomy Journal 95: 316322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
15Bauer, A. and Black, A.L. 1994. A quantification of the effect of soil organic matter content on soil productivity. Soil Science Society of America Journal 58: 185193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
16Wienhold, B.J. and Halvorson, A.D. 1998. Cropping system influences on several soil quality attributes in the northern Great Plains. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 53: 254258.Google Scholar
17Campbell, C.A. and Zentner, R.P. 1993. Soil organic matter as influenced by crop rotations and fertilization. Soil Science Society of America Journal 57: 10341040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
18Jones, O.R. and Popham, T.W. 1997. Cropping and tillage systems for dryland grain production in the Southern High Plains. Agronomy Journal 89: 222232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
19Lal, R., Kimble, J.M., Follett, R.F., and Cole, C.V. 1999. The Potential of U.S. Cropland to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA.Google Scholar
20Varvel, G.E. 1994. Rotation and nitrogen fertilization effects on changes in soil carbon and nitrogen. Agronomy Journal 86: 319325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
21Doran, J.W. 1980. Soil microbial and biochemical changes associated with reduced tillage. Soil Science Society of America Journal 44: 765771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
22Cambardella, C.A., Gijda, A.M., Doran, J.W., Wienhold, B.J., and Kettler, T.A. 2001. Estimation of particulate and total organic matter by weight loss-on-ignition. In Lal, R., Kimble, J.M., Follett, R.F. and Stewart, B.A. (eds). Assessment Methods for Soil Carbon. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA. p. 349359.Google Scholar
23Smith, J.L. and Doran, J.W. 1996. Measurement and use of pH and electrical conductivity for soil quality analysis. In Doran, J.W., Jones, A.J. (eds). Methods for Assessing Soil Quality. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, USA. p. 169185.Google Scholar
24Wright, S.F. and Upadhyaya, A. 1998. A survey of soils for aggregate stability and glomalin, a glycoprotein produced by hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Plant and Soil 198: 97107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
25Islam, K.R. and Weil, R.R. 1998. Microwave irradiation of soil for routine measurement of microbial biomass carbon. Biology and Fertility of Soils 27: 408416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
66
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Cropping system effects on soil quality in the Great Plains: Synthesis from a regional project
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Cropping system effects on soil quality in the Great Plains: Synthesis from a regional project
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Cropping system effects on soil quality in the Great Plains: Synthesis from a regional project
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *