The effect of tillage on oxidation of soil organic carbon in organically-managed soil
CSANR Project 098
Organic agriculture uses tillage for several purposes including incorporation of organic inputs. Tillage also speeds oxidation of inputs and soil organic carbon (SOC). In order to understand and model the potential of organic inputs to change total SOC, we need to better characterize the effect of tillage on the simultaneous mineralization and oxidation of inputs and SOC. We will use the natural abundance of 13C (δ13C) in corn-based manure to facilitate differentiation of input and SOC oxidation in response to tillage in organically managed soil.
We will impose tillage/no-tillage treatments and measure δ13C over the growing season in non-vegetated plots that were amended with manure in 2011. Also in 2012, a repeat of the experiment will be established. By enhancing models of input and soil C turnover and sequestration, we address BIOAg Priority Areas of fertility, soil quality, and organic wastes.