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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Submissions

Economic Feasibility of No-Tillage and Manure for Soil Carbon Sequestration in Corn Production in Northeastern Kansas


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 4, p. 1364-1373
    Received: Apr 26, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): jwilliam@agecon.ksu.edu
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  1. Dustin L. Pendella,
  2. Jeffery R. Williams *a,
  3. Charles W. Riceb,
  4. Richard G. Nelsonc and
  5. Scott B. Boylesa
  1. a Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-4011
    b Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-5501
    c Kansas Industrial Extension Service, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-2508


This study examined the economic potential of no-tillage versus conventional tillage to sequester soil carbon by using two rates of commercial N fertilizer or beef cattle manure for continuous corn (Zea mays L.) production. Yields, input rates, field operations, and prices from an experiment were used to simulate a distribution of net returns for eight production systems. Carbon release values from direct, embodied, and feedstock energies were estimated for each system, and were used with soil carbon sequestration rates from soil tests to determine the amount of net carbon sequestered by each system. The values of carbon credits that provide an incentive for managers to adopt production systems that sequester carbon at greater rates were derived. No-till systems had greater annual soil carbon gains, net carbon gains, and net returns than conventional tillage systems. Systems that used beef cattle manure had greater soil carbon gains and net carbon gains, but lower net returns, than systems that used commercial N fertilizer. Carbon credits would be needed to encourage the use of manure-fertilized cropping systems.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA