Effects of long-term tillage and drainage treatments on greenhouse gas fluxes from a corn field during the fallow period

A. Datta*, P. Smith, R. Lal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Advance tillage research suggests that tillage decreases soil fertility and adversely affects the environment. The objective of this research was to estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) flux vis-a-vis GHG production potential at different soil depths (0-100 cm) from tillage and drainage management treatments during the fallow period (October 2009 to April 2010) in a continuous (since 1994) corn (Zea mays) growing field at the Waterman farm in central Ohio. The Crosby silt loam (Aeric ochraqualf) soil of the experimental farm has been managed with the same practice since 1994 with two tillage sub-factors: no till (NT) and chisel tillage (T) and two drainage sub-factors: tile drainage (D) and no-drainage (ND). The fallow period was from the middle of October to the middle of April. The field was under snow cover during the middle of December to the first week of March. GHG fluxes (CO2, CH4 and N2O) were significantly lower during the snow cover period. This study suggests that the CO2 flux was significantly higher from T and D plots compared to NT and ND plots. Neither CH4 nor N2O fluxes were influenced by tillage or drainage. The CO2 flux from T + D treatments was significantly higher (25.98-398.65 mg m(-2) h(-1)) throughout the fallow period. Significantly higher N2O flux (87.07-125.76 mu g m(-2) h(-1)) was recorded from all treatments during the thawing period in the first week of March. Considering that the total C flux involves only the loss from the SOC stock, as much as 3.05% of the total SOC stock (1.23 Mg C ha(-1)) was lost during the fallow period from T-D plots as CO2 and CH4. Analysis of soil from different soil depths suggests that the CO2 and N2O emissions from soil were mostly dependent on production potential at 0-10 cm and 0-30 cm of soil depths, respectively. However, there was no such trend for CH4 emissions from soil. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalAgriculture Ecosystems & Environment
Early online date30 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • aeric ochraqualf
  • drainage
  • tillage
  • fallow period
  • greenhouse gas flux
  • greenhouse gas production potential
  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • soil carbon sequestration
  • N2O emissions
  • land-use
  • methane production
  • reduced tillage
  • organic-matter
  • crop residue
  • arable soils
  • denitrification


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