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Differences in soil organic carbon and soil erosion for native pasture and minimum till agricultural management systems

Wells, T., Hancock, G.R., Martinez, C., Dever, C., Kunkel, V., Gibson, A.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.666 pp. 618-630
agricultural management systems, carbon sequestration, climate, grazing, land management, minimum tillage, nitrogen, soil erosion, soil organic carbon, soil types, New South Wales
There is considerable debate over how different agricultural management systems such as minimum tillage and grazing affect soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nitrogen (SN) concentrations and soil erosion over the long-term. In this study SOC, SN and erosion characteristics were compared over a ten year period for two neighbouring sites with longstanding but different land management strategies; one cropped under a minimum tillage (MT) regime and one used for grazing on largely native pasture. Both sites (Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia) shared the same soil type (Euchrozem) and climate. SOC and SN were both found to be ~50% higher at the grazing site while erosion was found to be significantly greater (an order of magnitude) at the cropping site despite the application of MT practices. No discernible link between erosion and either SOC, SN or C:N was evident. While both sites have temporally constant SOC, SN and C:N, the MT site offers scope for increased SOC sequestration.