Corn straw mulch builds produce soil carbon

Corn straw mulch builds produce soil carbon according to a new study. Farmers in China’s Loess Plateau have for years utilized both plastic and straw as a soil cover, or mulch, between crops. A major part of the region’s agriculture which consists of corn is dry land. The crop’s existence is solely on seasonal rainfall. Dry season damages the crop and the yield. So the two mulches, both cost effective and ready to use are utilized to prevent water loss from evaporation and maintain the warm temperature of the soil.

Albeit the mulches had been utilized since 1917, Upendra M. Sainju who is a soil scientist at the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab in Montana said that there is no research on the result of mulching on soil quality, soil health, and carbon sequestration.

To study this and the mulch’s effect on corn produce, the researchers sketched a five year experiment in which they juxtaposed straw mulch, plastic mulch, and no mulch. At their test plots at the Changwu Agro-Ecological Station, they enclosed the soil in May and separated the mulches when the corn was harvested in October. They gathered soil samples at the finish of each season to study carbon. The scientists also contrasted corn yields between the different plots.

Ordinarily corn yield was greatest in the plastic mulch by 21 to 25 percent. Straw mulch also expanded produce in contrast with bare soil but only five percent.

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