Leaving crop residue on the soil surface will improve nutrient cycling and, ultimately, soil quality that will increase and sustain soil productivity. Through conservation practices that include balanced residue management and soil fertility, environmental quality can be substantially enhanced. By retaining crop residue on the soil surface, soil organic carbon (SOC) and nutrient-holding capacity are increased while protecting the soil from wind and water erosion. The recent wet conditions in the state demonstrate the value of leaving crop residue on the soil surface to reduce surface runoff, sediment loss, and associated nutrient losses. On the contrary, alternative uses of corn residues for various purposes, such as baling residue for animal use or for ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass, potentially have adverse effects on soil and water quality.
Iowa State University
Al-Kaisi, Mahdi and Guzman, José, "How residue removal affects nutrient cycling" (2007). Integrated Crop Management News. 1068.
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