Soil organic matter, effects on soils and crops
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
Soil Use and Management
Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 97–105, September 1986
How to Cite
Johnston, A.E. (1986), Soil organic matter, effects on soils and crops. Soil Use and Management, 2: 97–105. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.1986.tb00690.x
- Issue published online: 30 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
Abstract. Manurial treatments and cropping history have remained unchanged for many years in classical and long-term experiments at Rothamsted and Woburn, in some cases for more than 100 years. Soil samples taken periodically have been analysed to follow changes in organic carbon content with time and treatment. Data presented here clearly show effects of carbon input and soil texture on equilibrium organic matter content.
Until recently increasing amounts of soil organic matter had little effect on yields of arable crops especially if fertilizer nitrogen dressings were chosen correctly. However the yield potential of many crops has increased and various agronomic inputs have become available to achieve that potential. Yields of many crops are now larger on soils with extra organic matter both on the sandy loam at Woburn and the silty clay loam at Rothamsted. Some of the effect appears to be related to extra water holding capacity, some to availability of nitrogen in ways which cannot be mimicked by dressings of fertilizer N, and some to improved soil physical properties. Responses to fertilizer N have been larger on soils with more organic matter.