Long-term effects of tillage, crop rotation, cover crop, and fertilizer nitrogen on soil organic carbon and total nitrogen storage – Year two

Soil organic matter and soil organic carbon (SOC) are the important drivers of soil health. Although winter wheat and red clover have improved the soil health and system resiliency in Ontario (Gaudin et al., 2013), little is known on how quickly changes to soil health can be made and under which management systems. With Federal and Provincial government policies on carbon trading, a better understanding of the impact of management on carbon sequestration would be valuable. However, meaningful Ontario data are needed. The long-term tillage system-crop rotation-fertilizer nitrogen trial at Ridgetown is well suited to provide this information and is unique to North America. Established in 1995, the trial consists of different tillage systems (no-till vs. fall plow), crop rotations (corn, soybean, winter wheat with/without red clover), and 4 rates of fertilizer nitrogen (to corn and wheat). Previous research demonstrated that winter wheat increased SOC after 11-yrs of production. Our proposed research will evaluate the impact of management on soil health, quantify SOC and total N stores and sequestration rates from 2006-2019, and identify the management practices that provide resiliency to the system by relating soil health with crop yield and variability between years.

Faculty Supervisor:

Laura L Van Eerd


Inderjot Chahal


Grain Farmers of Ontario


Environmental sciences




University of Guelph



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