Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mahdi M. Al-Kaisi


The removal of crop residues left after harvest is being considered as a potential feedstock source for bioethanol production which can contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel use and net greenhouse gas (GHG). The objectives of this study were to: (i) examine how tillage, N fertilization rates, residue removal, and their interactions affect crop productivity, (ii) SOC and soil physical properties, and (iii) GHG emissions, and (iv) calculated a soil C budget to determine how much crop residue can be sustainably be removed in Central and Southwest Iowa.

After three years of residue removal under different management practices, the findings of this study suggest that a portion of the corn residue that is left on the soil surface after harvest can be removed, with no negative impacts in the short term continuous corn yield in sites at Central and Southwest Iowa. However, significant decreases in SOC sequestration rates, microbial biomass-C, bulk density, soil penetration resistance, wet aggregate stability, and infiltration rates were observed, but varied with soil type and management practices. Additionally, soil surface CO2 and N2O emissions were responsive to management practices; primarily by altering soil temperature, soil water content, soil mineral N, and crop growth. Results from soil C budget show that in 2010 when corn growth was not water stressed (lack of moisture), approximately 35 and 30% of the residue could be sustainably removed in the Central and Southwest sites, respectively. In 2011, drier soil conditions resulted in approximately 2 and 49% of the residue could be sustainably removed in the Central and Southwest sites, respectively.


Copyright Owner

Jose German Guzman



File Format


File Size

149 pages

Included in

Soil Science Commons