From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Soil Microbiology, National CASMGS Coordinator

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Extension Northeast Area Crops and Soils

Specialist (785) 532-5833

Kent McVay, K-State Soil and Water Conservation Specialist (785)


Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


June 15, 2004

No. 35



* Soil Carbon Levels Highest In Upper Soil Layers With No-till: K-State Studies



* Scientist Says Nuclear Power Is The Only Feasible Long-Term Solution To Global Warming



* Insurance Concerns Could Force Action On Climate Change

* Russia Likely To Ratify Kyoto In 2004






Soil Carbon Levels Highest in Upper Soil Layers

with No-till: K-State Studies


Three K-State long-term tillage and fertility studies have recently been analyzed for changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) levels. This analysis was done by Chuck Rice, K-State professor of agronomy, and his graduate student Karina Fabrizzi.


Rice and Fabrizzi analyzed soil samples from ongoing studies at K-State experimental sites in Tribune, Hays, and Parsons. At all three locations, soils were sampled at three depths: 0-5 cm, 5-15 cm, and 15-30 cm. Results were a little different in each region of Kansas.


Tribune: This 15-year study involves a wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation under three tillage treatments (no-till, reduced-till, and conventional-till) and a native sod area for comparison. The soil in a Richfield silt loam. The soils were sampled in November 2003, both in fallow ground and in wheat-stubble ground.


At the 0-5 cm depth, total SOC was highest in the no-till plots, followed by reduced-till then conventional-till. Averaged over the entire 30 cm depth, however, tillage had very little effect on total SOC when the soil was sampled in the fallow phase of the rotation. When the soil was sampled in the wheat phase of the rotation, the no-till plots had 2.9 tons/acre more SOC than the conventional-till plots at the 0-30 cm depth. The sod plots had consistently higher total SOC levels than any of the plots in the wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation.


Hays: This 38-year study also involves a wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation under three tillage treatments (no-till, reduced-till, and conventional-till). An additional factor at this site was four nitrogen rates, ranging from 0 to 60 lbs per acre. The soil was a Harney silt loam. Soils were sampled in March 2003, following sorghum harvest.


As with the Tribune study, total SOC was highest in the no-till plots at the 0-5 cm depth at Hays. Conventional-till plots had higher SOC levels at the other two depths. And over the entire 30-cm depth, conventional-till plots had the highest total SOC levels.


No-till plots had the highest level of soil aggregation at the 0-5 cm depth, which means improved soil structure.


Parsons: This 20-year study involves a sorghum-soybean rotation under three tillage treatments (no-till, reduced-till, and conventional-till) and two nitrogen rates (0 and 100 lbs per acre). The plots were sampled in December 2003.


Total SOC was highest in the no-till plots at the 0-5 cm depth. No-till also had the highest total SOC when averaged over the entire 30 cm depth.


SOC levels were slightly higher overall in the plots receiving 100 lbs per acre of N than in the unfertilized plots.


Summary: At all three locations, no-till increased total SOC in the upper layer of the soil (0-5 cm). At Parsons, the no-till plots had about 1.3 tons/acre more C than the conventional-till plots after 20 years. At Hays, the no-till plots had about 0.4 tons/acre more C than the conventional-till plots after 38 years. At Tribune, the no-till plots had about 1.5 tons/acre more C than the conventional-till plots after 15 years.


When averaged over the 0-30 cm depth, the results are not consistent.


In eastern Kansas (Parsons), where the plots were in continuous cropping, no-till increased total SOC at the 0-30 cm depth by about 1.05 tons per acre after 20 years.


In western Kansas (Hays) under a wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation, total SOC levels were lower under no-till. One possible explanation for this is that under no-till, the soil remained wetter than under conventional-till, even at the lower depths of soil. This resulted in an increase in microbial decomposition of organic matter in no-till systems. At the same time, the fallow period did not add any additional organic material from crop production. So the net result was a slight decrease in SOC in no-till at the 0-30 cm depth.


On the other hand, no-till consistently improved soil structure and resulted in larger soil aggregates at the 0-5 cm depth at all locations, and for all rotations.


-- Steve Watson






Scientist Says Nuclear power Is The Only

Feasible Long-Term Solution To Global Warming


Independent UK scientist James Lovelock, one of the first scientists to warn of the threat from the greenhouse effect and a leader of the worldwide Green Movement, argues that the only realistic solution to global warming is a rapid switch to nuclear power. Interim measures such as carbon sequestration and more use of renewable fuel sources will help, but cannot by themselves solve the problem quickly enough to stop the process, he says. Loveland believes that the intensity of global warming is rapidly increasing, and close to being out of our control. This controversial scientist, a long-time advocate of nuclear energy, says that those in the Green Movement need to change their thinking about nuclear power.


For more on this interesting point of view, see:


-- Steve Watson






insurance concerns could

force action on climate change

The implications of climate change must be addressed now if insurers are to continue offering widely available and affordable cover, an insurance trade body warned recently.


The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said climate change is something that is already affecting insurance, with household claims relating to storm and flood damage doubling in the five years to 2003.


It warned that insurers faced the prospect of these claims tripling by 2050 if no action is taken.


A report carried out for the group found that during the 1990s extreme hot or cold weather was experienced during 34 months, compared with just 12 months during the previous decade, while the number of winter storms in the UK has doubled during the past decade.


It added that by the end of the century two out of three summers could be as hot as the heat wave of 1995, while winters are likely to become wetter.

The group is calling on the Government and other stakeholders such as builders and developers to work with insurers to help reduce the impact of climate change.


The ABI warned that unless action was taken it would become increasingly difficult for insurers to continue to offer cover to everyone at an affordable rate. The report also highlighted that it was not just household insurance that could potentially be affected by climate change.


It said other coverage could be hit, such as liability insurance if company directors were held responsible for their firmsí contributing to climate change, and motor insurance, as extreme weather tended to lead to more accidents, and even health insurance.


-- The Evening Standard, June 8, 2004






Russia likely to

ratify Kyoto in 2004


Russia is likely to ratify the Kyoto Protocol this year, salvaging the stalled U.N. pact aimed at curbing global warming, the head of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) Klaus Toepfer said recently.


President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow would move to ratify the 1997 deal after an agreement with the European Union on entry to the World Trade Organization.


Putin set no deadlines but UNEP head Klaus Toepfer told Reuters he expected Russia would ratify by the next meeting of Kyoto signatories, scheduled for December in Buenos Aires.


Kyoto cannot come into force unless it is ratified by countries responsible for 55 percent of rich nations' "greenhouse gas" emissions. It has reached 44 percent and Russia's 17 percent will tip the balance.


A UNEP source said Toepfer had never been so optimistic about getting Russia on board. Kyoto's entry into force will trigger a flow of aid to help the developing world tackle its emissions problems, U.N. officials say.


And the example of legal obligations on richer countries could also make it easier to bring big developing-world polluters India and China into the fold, Toepfer said.


-- Point Carbon, June 7, 2004







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