Changes in soil organic carbon in a clay loam soil following ploughing and reseeding of permanent grassland under temperate moist climatic conditions

Authors

  • M. Necpálová,

    Corresponding author
    1. Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
    2. Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
    • Correspondence to: M. Necpálová, Livestock Systems Research Department, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland.

      E-mail: magnec@gmail.com

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  • D. Li,

    1. Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
    2. UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
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  • G. Lanigan,

    1. Environment Research Centre, Teagasc, Co. Wexford, Ireland
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  • I. A. Casey,

    1. Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
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  • W. Burchill,

    1. Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
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  • J. Humphreys

    1. Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
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Abstract

This study investigated changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) in a poorly drained clay loam soil under (i) permanent grassland (PG) over 7 years and (ii) after PG renovation over 2·5 years. The experimental area was divided into four blocks with four paddocks per block. Composite soil samples from each PG block were taken to 30-cm depth on five occasions between 2004 and 2011. In June 2008, one paddock per block was renovated by ploughing and reseeding and sampled as above on the latter four occasions. Renovation decreased SOC (< 0·05) by 32·2 t ha−1 in the 2·5 years following ploughing; the difference developed almost entirely (86%) in the first four months. Renovation had no effect on above-ground productivity, standing root and stubble phytomass or on dissolved organic matter leaching. Therefore, soil respiration was considered to be a single potential pathway responsible for the SOC loss from renovated grassland. Although a simple linear regression indicated a tendency for PG to accumulate SOC, there was no evidence of recovery in SOC to previous levels following renovation during the study period. These results could have implications for greenhouse gas inventories in countries where PG is an important land-use type.

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