Response of Soil Surface Greenhouse Gas Fluxes to Crop Residue Removal and Cover Crops under a Corn-Soybean Rotation
Wegner, B.R.; Chalise, K.Subedi.; Singh, S.; Lai, L.; Abagandura, G.Omar.; Kumar, S.; Osborne, S.L.; Lehman, R.Michael.; Jagadamma, S.
Journal of Environmental Quality 47(5): 1146-1154
Excessive crop residue returned to the soil hinders farm operations, but residue removal can affect soil quality. In contrast, cover cropping can return additional residue to the soil and improve soils and environmental quality compared with no cover cropping. Residue and cover crop impacts on soil surface greenhouses gas (GHG) emissions are undetermined and site specific. Thus, the present study was conducted to investigate the impacts of corn (Zea mays L.) residue management and cover cropping on GHG fluxes. The fluxes were measured from 2013 to 2015 using static chamber under corn and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotation initiated in 2000 at Brookings, SD. Treatments included two residue management levels (residue returned [RR] and residue not returned [RNR]) and two cover cropping (cover crops [CC] and no cover crops [NCC]). Results showed that RR under corn and soybean phases significantly reduced cumulative CO2 fluxes (2681.3 kg ha(-1) in corn and 2419.8 kg ha(-1) in soybeans) compared with RNR (3331.0 kg ha(-1) in corn and 2755.0 kg ha(-1) in soybeans) in 2013. The RR emitted significantly less cumulative N2O fluxes than RNR from both the phases in 2013 and 2014, but not in 2015. The CC treatment had significantly lower cumulative N2O fluxes than the NCC for corn and soybean phases in 2013 and 2014. We conclude that crop residue retention and cover cropping can mitigate the GHG emissions compared with residue removal and no cover cropping.