Integrated Crop Management News

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Crop residue serves an important role in physically protecting soil by preventing soil erosion during rain events or high winds. Also, crop residue plays a significant role in enhancing the soil biological community by providing sources of organic carbon and nitrogen for its energy or food needs. To understand how residue decomposes or breaks down, we need to understand the processes and mechanisms that include both biological and chemical activities influenced by environmental and soil conditions, namely air and soil temperatures, soil moisture availability, soil pH, oxygen, and type of microbial community. The composition of crop residue includes lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and macro and micro nutrients. To release or breakdown and decompose most of these organic forms, certain biological and enzymatic processes controlled by a wide range of microorganisms influenced by other factors have to occur to these materials at various rates as influenced by the environment and soil conditions.

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Iowa State University



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