Crop and land management practices affect both the quality and quantity of soil organic matter (SOM) and hence are driving forces for soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration. The objective of this study was to assess the long‐term effects of tillage, fertilizer application and crop rotation on SOC in an agricultural area of southern Norway, where a soil fertility and crop rotation experiment was initiated in 1953 and a second experiment on tillage practices was initiated in 1983. The first experiment comprised 6‐yr crop rotations with cereals only and 2‐yr cereal and 4‐yr grass rotations with recommended (base) and more than the recommended (above base) fertilizer application rates; the second experiment dealt with autumn‐ploughed (conventional‐till) plots and direct‐drilled plots (no‐till). Soil samples at 0–10 and 10–30 cm depths were collected in autumn 2009 and analysed for their C and N contents. The quality of SOM in the top layer was determined by 13C solid‐state NMR spectroscopy. The SOC stock did not differ significantly because of rotation or fertilizer application types, even after 56 yr. However, the no‐till system showed a significantly higher SOC stock than the conventional‐till system at the 0–10 cm depth after the 26 yr of experiment, but it was not significantly different at the 10–30 cm depth. In terms of quality, SOM was found to differ by tillage type, rate of fertilizer application and crop rotation. The no‐till system showed an abundance of O‐alkyl C, while conventional‐till system indicated an apparently indirect enrichment in alkyl C, suggesting a more advanced stage of SOM decomposition. The long‐term quantitative and qualitative effects on SOM suggest that adopting a no‐tillage system and including grass in crop rotation and farmyard manure in fertilizer application may contribute to preserve soil fertility and mitigate climate change.
Soil Use and Management – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2015
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