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Limited influence of tillage management on organic matter fractions in the surface layer of silt soils under cereal–root crop rotations

Kader, Md. Abdul and Sleutel, Steven and D’Haene, K. and De Neve, Stefaan (2010) Limited influence of tillage management on organic matter fractions in the surface layer of silt soils under cereal–root crop rotations. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 48 . pp. 16-26. ISSN 0004-9573

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Reduced tillage (RT) management may increase surface soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (N), particularly due to accumulation of labile organic matter (OM). We investigated the effect of RT compared with conventional tillage (CT) on the distribution of SOC and N over different soil fractions from 7 pairs of fields with cereal–root crop rotations, in the Belgian loess belt. Surface soil samples (0–100mm) were physically fractionated according to a sequential sieving and density separation method into stable microaggregates, silt and clay, and free and occludedparticulateOMfractions.RTmanagementwaspreviouslyfoundeffectiveinincreasingtheorganicCandorganic N content of the surface soil (0–100mm) at these 7 sites. Here, physical fractionation showed that the difference in amount of organic C and N in free particulate OM (fPOM), intra-microaggregate particulate OM (iPOM), and silt and clay associated OM between the RT and CT soils contributed 34, 29, and 37% of the increase in SOC and 35, 32, and 33% of the increase in N. The contribution of OC and N in iPOM and fPOM increased significantly on a relative basis under RT management. Only a modest increase in iPOM and slight enhancement of microaggregation was observed in RT compared with CT soils. We suggest that the repeated disturbance of soil by harvest of root crops and repeated use of cultivators and harrows may limit the accumulation of physically protected POM under RT management of these Western European cereal–root crop rotations. Instead, most of the accumulated OC and N in the surface horizons under RT management is present as free unprotected POM, which could be prone to rapid loss after (temporary) abandonment of RT management.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Agriculture and Food Technology
Depositing User: Md. Abdul Kader
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 22:23
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 22:23

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