11 Jan 2023
 | 11 Jan 2023

Carbon dynamics after five decades of different crop residue management in temperate climate

Ilaria Piccoli, Felice Sartori, Riccardo Polese, and Antonio Berti

Abstract. Increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) in agricultural soils is nowadays receiving growing attention also due to the COP21 initiative of “4 per 1000”. In this study, the effect of five decades of different residue management (residue removal, residue incorporation, and residue incorporation + poultry manure) was investigated on SOC stock and related to the 4 per 1000 and C saturation concepts. Preliminary results showed that higher 0–60 cm SOC stock was found after 54 years of the experiment when residues were incorporated into the soil compared to residue removal (75.0 vs 69.0 t ha−1) while poultry manure had a negligible effect. Comparing the 0–30 cm SOC stock with pre-existent data series, a general decreasing trend was observed from the start of the experiment in 1966 up to 1986, being greater in residual removal (−8.6 t ha−1) than residual incorporation (−4.8 t ha−1, irrespective of poultry manure addition). In 2020, the difference between the above-mentioned systems was 4.1 t ha−1 corresponding to a 2.2 ‰ which is lower than what was suggested by the 4 per 1000 initiative. This SOC stock attributed to residue retention arose in response to 141 t C ha−1 residue resulting in a 0.1 % yearly conversion rate that is sensibly lower than what is generally reported in the literature. Therefore, an alternative use (e.g., bioenergy production) of at least part of crop residues is conceivable in temperate climate for a more efficient C cycle. The studied soil was demonstrated also to be far from C saturation, being in the 30−47 % degree of saturation range. Therefore, specific studies on how both organic and inorganic (i.e., carbonates) C fractions related to different soil aggregates and aggregate mineralization are namely requested.

Ilaria Piccoli et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1497', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Apr 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1497', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Apr 2023

Ilaria Piccoli et al.

Ilaria Piccoli et al.


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Short summary
This manuscript deals with the evolution of soil organic carbon stock of a long-term experiment started in 1966 including different crop residue management. The main findings of the MS are that: crop residue increased C stock with an increment four times lower than what was suggested by the “4 per 1000 initiative”. The study demonstrated to be far from C saturation, being in the 30–47 % degree of saturation range.