New NebGuide: Soil Management for Increased Soil Organic Matter

New NebGuide: Soil Management for Increased Soil Organic Matter March 2, 2017

A newly published NebGuide from Nebraska Extension, Soil Management for Increased Soil Organic Matter (G2283), describes the soil organic matter steady state concept and its implications for opportunities and limitations to increasing soil organic matter.

Authors, all from UNL, include: Charles Wortmann, Extension soils specialist; Juan Pablo Garcia, Ph.D. graduate student; Charles Shapiro, Extension soils specialist; Tim Shaver, Extension soils specialist; Richard Ferguson, Extension soils specialist; Bijesh Maharjan, Extension soils specialist; Humberto Blanco, soils specialist; Sabrina Ruis, post-doctoral researcher; and Richard Little, research technologist.

The guide addresses management practices for maintaining and increasing soil organic matter for Nebraska croplands. Reducing soil organic matter loss through erosion control, reduced tillage, and strategic crop residual retention in the field are addressed.

Opportunities for increasing soil organic matter and raising the soil organic matter steady state are discussed, including addition of small grains and perennials to crop rotations, double cropping, increasing productivity, crop residue incorporation for some situations, manure application, and others.

Nebraska soil organic map
Figure 1. Soil organic matter (%) for non-eroded loamy soil croplands of Nebraska from the NebGuide, Soil Management for Increased Soil Organic Matter (G2283). (The map was developed from NRCS SSURGO data.)