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Crop Residue Management Challenges: A Special Issue Overview

David E. Clay, Ronald Alverson, Jane M.F. Johnson, Douglas L. Karlen, Sharon Clay, Michael Q. Wang, Stephanie Bruggeman, Shaina Westhoff
Agronomy journal 2019 v.111 no.1 pp. 1-3
biofuels, carbon, climate, cover crops, crop residue management, crop residues, crop rotation, crop yield, environmental sustainability, farmers, genetic factors, grazing, greenhouse gas emissions, livestock, plant health, simulation models, soil, soil carbon, soil erosion, soil organic matter, soil quality, tillage, California, Midwestern United States
CORE IDEAS: Farmers struggle to maintain and balance economic and environmental sustainability. Identification of knowledge gaps related to crop residue management. Discussion of crop residue manage expanded from the U.S. Midwest to a global perspective. Use of carbon flux tower data to validate simulation models. Crop residue harvesting impacts soil health, productivity, and greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of crop residues that can be sustainability removed is highly variable and is a function of many factors including the soil, climatic, and plant characteristics. For example, leaving an insufficient amount of crop residue on the soil surface can be detrimental for soil quality, result in loss of soil organic matter (SOM), and increase soil erosion, whereas leaving excessive amounts can impair soil‐seed contact, immobilize N, and/or keep soils cool and wet. This special issue evolved as an outcome of, “Crop Residues for Advanced Biofuels: Effects on Soil Carbon” workshop held in Sacramento, CA, in 2017. The goal of the special issue is to provide a forum for identifying knowledge gaps associated with crop residue management and to expand the discussion from a regional Midwestern U.S. to a global perspective. Several crop residue experiments as well as simulation modeling studies are included to examine effects of tillage, crop rotation, livestock grazing, and cover crops on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, crop yield, and soil or plant health. The special issue is divided into 4 sections that include (i) Estimating Crop Residue Removal and Modeling; (ii) Cultural Practice Impact on Soil Health; (iii) Residue Removal Impact on Soil and Plant Health; and (iv) Cultural Practice Impact on Carbon Storage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.