Microbial efficiency of crop residue decomposition

This research will generate information to better understand the efficiency of microbial processes affecting different crop residues, which will enable producers to manage their fields over the long-term.

  • Term:  2 year, beginning 2019

  • Funding Amount: $ 28,483

  • Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Diane Knight (University of Saskatchewan)

  • Funding Partners: Western Grains Research Foundation

Project Description

Managing agricultural fields for long-term sustainability is key to the success of future generations of farming. This research will generate information to better understand the efficiency of microbial processes affecting different crop residues, which will enable producers to manage their fields over the long-term.

This research builds on the ongoing project on examining the biochemical/structural features of the residues, and how they affect N2O production, and indirectly decomposition and mineralization/immobilization processes. In the current study, they will quantify the efficiencies of the microbial populations decomposing canola, flax, wheat and pea in soils from the four major soil zones, and will investigate two soil water regimes on how they affect the efficiency of microbes during the decomposition, mineralization, and immobilization of the different crop residues.

The research findings will build on knowledge of both greenhouse gas emissions, and soil organic matter development. Information on the functioning efficiency of the microbial populations in decomposing residues will be integrated with the residue composition analyses to elucidate the controls on residue decomposition, and soil organic matter development.