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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Corn Root and Shoot Biomass at Physiological Maturity As Affected by Tillage and Residue Harvest

Authors
item Dowdy, Robert
item Dolan, Michael
item Linden, Dennis
item Clapp, Charles
item Allmaras, Raymond - USDA-ARS RETIRED

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Our ability to determine the effectiveness of a given farming system to sequester plant carbon (C) is seriously limited by the scarcity of hard field data quantifying root biomass C inputs. To address this data void, corn (Zea mays L.) biomass, both above and below ground, was determined at physiological maturity (R6) in a 20 y tillage-residue management study consisting of three tillages (chisel plow, CH; moldboard plow, MB; and no tillage, NT) where stover was either retained (r) or harvested (h) from the field. Data presented represent biomass production the first year following 6 y of continuous soybean that was preceded by 13 y of continuous corn. Total biomass production ranged from 26.5 Mg/ha for CHr vs. 15.5 Mg/ha for the NTh treatment. Root biomass production was significantly greater (p < 0.1) for the CHr (1.78 Mg/ha) and least for the NTh (1.0 Mg/ha). Averaged across treatments, 58% of the root biomass was in the 0.0 0to 0.075 m depth increment, with 80+% of root biomass contained in the 0.0 to 0.3 m zone. Although not statistically significant, there was a strikingly greater quantity of root biomass contained in the 0.3 to 0.6 m soil layer of the CHr treatment. Interestingly, the lower 0.05 m of stalk averaged 0.54 Mg/ha of biomass - an important component of total biomass that often gets omitted from mass balance computations.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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