Project ID

E2012-11

Abstract

What are some options for enhancing organic content and carbon storage in soils that have been used in intensive row-crop production? The project looked at bioenergy feedstocks and how they might be employed to improve soil properties.

Key Question

What are some options for enhancing organic matter content and carbon storage in soils that have been used in intensive row-crop production?

Findings

The results showed that despite no change in total soil carbon, all three bioenergy cropping systems studied improved soil structure and increased the protected forms of soil carbon that result in storage of soil carbon. The greatest improvement to soil structure and organic matter levels occurred under switchgrass—likely due to the large amount of root biomass associated with this crop—while continuous corn showed the smallest changes. Additional analyses revealed that soil properties influenced shifts in protected forms of soil carbon through impacts to soil structure and root biomass.

Principal Investigator(s)

Cynthia Cambardella

Co-Investigator(s)

Todd A. Ontl, Lisa Schulte Moore, Randall Kolka

Year of Grant Completion

2014