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Title: Residue incorporation mitigates tillage-induced loss of soil carbon in laboratory microcosms
Contributor(s): Bajgai, Yadunath (author); Hulugalle, Nilantha (author); Kristiansen, Paul  (author)orcid ; McHenry, Melinda (author); Cowie, Annette  (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1111/sum.12130
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Abstract: Annual horticultural systems rely on frequent and intensive tillage to prepare beds, manage weeds and control insects. But this practice reduces soil organic carbon (SOC) through accelerated CO₂ emission. Crop residue incorporation could counteract this loss. We investigated whether vegetable systems could be made more resilient by including a high-residue grain crop such as sweet corn ('Zea mays' L. var. 'rugosa'), in the rotation through the use of conventional (no residue, no soil sieving) and organic (residue incorporated and soil sieved) soil management scenarios. We evaluated short-term emission of CO₂-C and soil C content in incubated Chromosol and Vertosol soils (Australian Classification) with and without sieving (simulated tillage) or the incorporation of ground sweet corn residue. Residue treatment emitted 2.3 times more CO₂-C compared to the no-residue treatment, and furthermore, sieved soil emitted 1.5 times more CO₂-C than the unsieved across the two soil types. The residue incorporation had a greater effect on CO₂-C flux than simulated tillage, suggesting that C availability and form can be more important than physical disturbance in cropping soils. The organic scenario (with residue and sieved) emitted more CO₂-C, but had 13% more SOC compared with the conventional scenario (without residue and unsieved), indicating that organic systems may retain more SOC than a conventional system. The SOC lost by soil disturbance was more than offset by the incorporation of residue in the laboratory conditions. Therefore, the possible SOC loss by tillage for weed control under organic management may be offset by organic residue input.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Soil Use and Management, 30(3), p. 328-336
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0266-0032
Field of Research (FOR): 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
829899 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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