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Soil carbon dynamics as influenced by tillage and crop residue management in loamy sand and sandy loam soils under smallholder farmers' conditions in Malawi

Amos Ngwira, Steven Sleutel UGent and Stefaan De Neve UGent (2012) NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS. 92(3). p.315-328
abstract
Conservation agriculture (CA) characterised by minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil surface cover by dead or living plants and crop rotations is one way of achieving higher soil organic carbon (C) in agricultural fields. Sandy loam and loamy soil samples from zero tillage (ZT) and conventional tillage (CT) plots were taken from farmers' fields during the dry season in August 2006. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil organic nitrogen (SON), microbial biomass carbon (MB-C) and microbial biomass nitrogen (MB-N), C mineralization and SOC distribution in particle size fractions in 0-20 cm layer were evaluated. Forty eight farmers' fields were randomly sampled at four different locations in Central and Northern Malawi, representing ZT plots maintained for a different number of years, and ten fields under CT with similar soil type and crop grown were selected. SOC and SON in ZT fields were 44 and 41 % (4 years ZT) and 75 and 77 % (5 years ZT) higher, respectively, than CT plots. MB-C and MB-N in ZT fields were 16 and 44 % (4 years ZT) and 20 and 38 % (5 years ZT) higher, respectively, than CT plots. However, MB-C and MB-N in ZT fields were 27 and 25 % (2 years ZT) and 17 and 9 % (3 years ZT) lower than in CT plots. The proportion of the total organic C as microbial biomass C was relatively higher under CT than ZT treatments. The higher SOC and MB-C content in the ZT fields resulted in 10, 62, 57 % higher C mineralization rate in ZT plots of 3, 4 and 5 years of loamy sand soils and 35 % higher C mineralization rate in ZT plot of 2 years than CT of sandy loam soils in undisturbed soils in the laboratory. Simulating plough from the undisturbed soils that were used for C mineralization experiment resulted in linear curves indicating that all organic C was already depleted during the first incubation period. The relative distribution of soil organic matter (SOM) in silt and clay size fractions was strongly correlated (r = 0.907 and P a parts per thousand currency sign 0.01) with silt percentages. Easily degradable carbon pool (C-A,C-f) was correlated (r = 0.867 and P a parts per thousand currency sign 0.05) with organic carbon in sand size fraction. In developing viable conservation agriculture practices to optimize SOC content and long-term sustainability of maize production systems, priority should be given to the maintenance of C inputs, crop rotations and associations and also to reduced soil disturbance by tillage.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
Smallholders, Zero tillage, Soil organic carbon, Microbial biomass, Carbon mineralization, MICROBIAL BIOMASS DYNAMICS, ORGANIC-MATTER FRACTIONS, SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, N-MINERALIZATION, CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE, ENZYME-ACTIVITIES, REDUCED TILLAGE, CONVENTIONAL-TILLAGE, PHYSICAL-PROPERTIES, GRASSLAND SOILS
journal title
NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS
Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst.
volume
92
issue
3
pages
315 - 328
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000302576100006
JCR category
SOIL SCIENCE
JCR impact factor
1.416 (2012)
JCR rank
18/34 (2012)
JCR quartile
3 (2012)
ISSN
1385-1314
DOI
10.1007/s10705-012-9492-2
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
2153926
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2153926
date created
2012-06-14 15:16:07
date last changed
2012-06-28 10:31:17
@article{2153926,
  abstract     = {Conservation agriculture (CA) characterised by minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil surface cover by dead or living plants and crop rotations is one way of achieving higher soil organic carbon (C) in agricultural fields. Sandy loam and loamy soil samples from zero tillage (ZT) and conventional tillage (CT) plots were taken from farmers' fields during the dry season in August 2006. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil organic nitrogen (SON), microbial biomass carbon (MB-C) and microbial biomass nitrogen (MB-N), C mineralization and SOC distribution in particle size fractions in 0-20 cm layer were evaluated. Forty eight farmers' fields were randomly sampled at four different locations in Central and Northern Malawi, representing ZT plots maintained for a different number of years, and ten fields under CT with similar soil type and crop grown were selected. SOC and SON in ZT fields were 44 and 41 \% (4 years ZT) and 75 and 77 \% (5 years ZT) higher, respectively, than CT plots. MB-C and MB-N in ZT fields were 16 and 44 \% (4 years ZT) and 20 and 38 \% (5 years ZT) higher, respectively, than CT plots. However, MB-C and MB-N in ZT fields were 27 and 25 \% (2 years ZT) and 17 and 9 \% (3 years ZT) lower than in CT plots. The proportion of the total organic C as microbial biomass C was relatively higher under CT than ZT treatments. The higher SOC and MB-C content in the ZT fields resulted in 10, 62, 57 \% higher C mineralization rate in ZT plots of 3, 4 and 5 years of loamy sand soils and 35 \% higher C mineralization rate in ZT plot of 2 years than CT of sandy loam soils in undisturbed soils in the laboratory. Simulating plough from the undisturbed soils that were used for C mineralization experiment resulted in linear curves indicating that all organic C was already depleted during the first incubation period. The relative distribution of soil organic matter (SOM) in silt and clay size fractions was strongly correlated (r = 0.907 and P a parts per thousand currency sign 0.01) with silt percentages. Easily degradable carbon pool (C-A,C-f) was correlated (r = 0.867 and P a parts per thousand currency sign 0.05) with organic carbon in sand size fraction. In developing viable conservation agriculture practices to optimize SOC content and long-term sustainability of maize production systems, priority should be given to the maintenance of C inputs, crop rotations and associations and also to reduced soil disturbance by tillage.},
  author       = {Ngwira, Amos and Sleutel, Steven and De Neve, Stefaan},
  issn         = {1385-1314},
  journal      = {NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS},
  keyword      = {Smallholders,Zero tillage,Soil organic carbon,Microbial biomass,Carbon mineralization,MICROBIAL BIOMASS DYNAMICS,ORGANIC-MATTER FRACTIONS,SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA,N-MINERALIZATION,CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE,ENZYME-ACTIVITIES,REDUCED TILLAGE,CONVENTIONAL-TILLAGE,PHYSICAL-PROPERTIES,GRASSLAND SOILS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {315--328},
  title        = {Soil carbon dynamics as influenced by tillage and crop residue management in loamy sand and sandy loam soils under smallholder farmers' conditions in Malawi},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10705-012-9492-2},
  volume       = {92},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Ngwira, Amos, Steven Sleutel, and Stefaan De Neve. 2012. “Soil Carbon Dynamics as Influenced by Tillage and Crop Residue Management in Loamy Sand and Sandy Loam Soils Under Smallholder Farmers’ Conditions in Malawi.” Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 92 (3): 315–328.
APA
Ngwira, A., Sleutel, S., & De Neve, S. (2012). Soil carbon dynamics as influenced by tillage and crop residue management in loamy sand and sandy loam soils under smallholder farmers’ conditions in Malawi. NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS, 92(3), 315–328.
Vancouver
1.
Ngwira A, Sleutel S, De Neve S. Soil carbon dynamics as influenced by tillage and crop residue management in loamy sand and sandy loam soils under smallholder farmers’ conditions in Malawi. NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS. 2012;92(3):315–28.
MLA
Ngwira, Amos, Steven Sleutel, and Stefaan De Neve. “Soil Carbon Dynamics as Influenced by Tillage and Crop Residue Management in Loamy Sand and Sandy Loam Soils Under Smallholder Farmers’ Conditions in Malawi.” NUTRIENT CYCLING IN AGROECOSYSTEMS 92.3 (2012): 315–328. Print.