Effect of Corn Residue Harvest on Soil Carbon and Physical Properties


  • Determine the effect of corn stover harvest on soil organic carbon and soil physical properties.
  • Evaluate the effect of stover harvest on corn productivity and its influence on nitrogen fertilization rates. 

Study Description


Plot Layout:   Randomized block design with a split-plot
restriction on the randomization
Replicates: 4 per location
Locations: 2 sites in southwestern and south-central
Years: 3 years, concluding in 2015


             Stover Harvest Rates: 0, 50 and 100%

             Nitrogen Fertilization Rates to Corn: 0, 50, 100, 200 and 250 lb/acre N

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Aerial view of the study site in south-central Wisconsin, near Arlington.

Study Details

  • Both sites have a 3-year history of stover harvest, but work on soil organic carbon and soil physical property assessment began in fall 2012.
  • Corn grain and stover biomass production will be measured annually.
  • Soil bulk density, aggregate stability and water infiltration will be evaluated at the conclusion of this study.
  • Soil penetration resistance will also be assessed with an electronic cone penetrometer to 20-inch depth.
  • Total soil organic carbon, particulate organic matter and mineral associated carbon will also be measured since these 3 soil carbon fractions represent the total, labile and stable carbon fractions in the soil.

Research conducted by Francisco Arriaga, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a part of the Pioneer Crop Management Research Awards (CMRA) Program. This program provides funds for agronomic and precision farming studies by university and USDA cooperators throughout North America. The awards extend for up to 4 years and address crop management information needs of Pioneer agronomists, Pioneer sales professionals and customers.