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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GLOBAL CHANGE AND BELOWGROUND PROCESSES IN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Characterization of Soil Gas Efflux Patterns Associated with Tillage Implements

Authors
item Prior, Stephen
item Reicosky, Donald
item Runion, George
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 27, 2005
Publication Date: June 27, 2005
Citation: Prior, S.A., Reicosky, D.C., Runion, G.B., Raper, R.L. 2005. Characterization of soil gas efflux patterns associated with tillage implements. In: Busscher, W., Frederick, J. and Robinson S., editors. The Science of Conservation Tillage: Continuing the Discoveries, Proceedings of the 27th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture, June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 143-147.

Interpretive Summary: Farm tillage can lead to loss of water vapor to the atmosphere and carbon from the soil in the form of carbon dioxide. We characterize how different farm implements affected these gas losses using both a small and larger chamber measurement system. This work showed that implement operations can influence immediate loss of water vapor and CO2 from soil. Similar gas release patterns were found with both soil chamber systems and spatial changes in CO2 loss patterns from different zones following implement action were the results of soil compaction by tractor wheels. Our results suggest that proper equipment selection can help reduce CO2 loss to the atmosphere and minimize losses of water vapor within the planted zone.

Technical Abstract: Soil disturbance can result in the rapid loss of carbon from soil in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, soil CO2 loss characteristic of different farm implements has not been adequately investigated. Our objectives were to compare implement-induced short-term CO2 loss from soil (using two chamber systems) and to characterize spatial changes in CO2 flux from zones of soil disturbance caused by these implements. Four-row implements were used on a Norfolk loamy sand (Typic Kandiudults; FAO classification Luxic Ferralsols). The implements tested were two in-row subsoilers and a planter. Gas flux measurements were made with a large canopy chamber (over the center two rows) for an integrated assessment of equipment-induced soil disturbance; a small soil chamber system was also used to characterize positional effects (i.e., in the row and trafficked and untrafficked row middles) on soil CO2 efflux. The small chamber system showed that trafficked areas exhibited lower CO2 efflux relative to in-row and untrafficked row positions. Comparable CO2 flux patterns were noted between the large canopy and small soil chamber systems (averaged over all positions). Results from this study suggest that both chamber systems could successfully characterize implement-induced flux patterns on loamy sand soils and that consideration should be given to selecting equipment that conserves soil resources.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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