Indexing the Benefits of Soil Quality Improvement: The Soil Conditioning Index

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Indexing the Benefits of Soil Quality Improvement: The Soil Conditioning Index

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1. Indexing the Benefits of Soil Quality Improvement: The Soil Conditioning Index Soil Quality Assessment & Applications for Field Staff Price, Utah May 2-4, 2006

2. This is the condensed version of the official definition which includes the capability to respond to efforts to improve soil function. Soil function is what the soil does. (Reminder to instructor that the condensed definition is usually a lead in to the slides that follow on soil functions).This is the condensed version of the official definition which includes the capability to respond to efforts to improve soil function. Soil function is what the soil does. (Reminder to instructor that the condensed definition is usually a lead in to the slides that follow on soil functions).

3. This is the condensed version of the official definition which includes the capability to respond to efforts to improve soil function. Soil function is what the soil does. (Reminder to instructor that the condensed definition is usually a lead in to the slides that follow on soil functions).This is the condensed version of the official definition which includes the capability to respond to efforts to improve soil function. Soil function is what the soil does. (Reminder to instructor that the condensed definition is usually a lead in to the slides that follow on soil functions).

4. Illustration of tillage and the release of carbon as CO2. If carbon smelled bad, we would not plow. Lead-in to discussion of planning opportunities and how the SCI tool can aid in our 9 steps of planningIllustration of tillage and the release of carbon as CO2. If carbon smelled bad, we would not plow. Lead-in to discussion of planning opportunities and how the SCI tool can aid in our 9 steps of planning

5. Planning for Soil Quality Soil Surveys Inherent Properties Patterns and Locations Uses, Limits, Suitability The whole ball of wax You can spend a lot of time on this slide, or you can acknowledge up front that you could spend an hour on this alone but won’t …. Essence is the illustration of a flow-through planning process and how easily soil quality objectives fit into the planning scheme of what we do Emphasis of organic matter as the nexus of the physical, biological, chemical properties as we transition to the SCIThe whole ball of wax You can spend a lot of time on this slide, or you can acknowledge up front that you could spend an hour on this alone but won’t …. Essence is the illustration of a flow-through planning process and how easily soil quality objectives fit into the planning scheme of what we do Emphasis of organic matter as the nexus of the physical, biological, chemical properties as we transition to the SCI

6. Soil organic matter or soil carbon is significantly correlated with soil productivity and soil quality.

7. Long term studies have shown that organic matter levels have declined under cultivation Intensive tillage of agricultural soils has led to soil carbon losses ranging from 30 to 50 percent

9. The “domino effect” of management that values organic matterThe “domino effect” of management that values organic matter

10. The Soil Conditioning Index – A Part of the RUSLE2 Technology Field Office Tool Based on actual conservation plan Interactive with landowner in decision making process This is what our audience would relate to and what we want to sell them on … SCI as a national performance measure can be mentioned here but probably as background rather than discrete discussion topicThis is what our audience would relate to and what we want to sell them on … SCI as a national performance measure can be mentioned here but probably as background rather than discrete discussion topic

11. The Soil Conditioning Index: Based on long term studies at Renner, Texas which identified a steady state of soil organic carbon under a known cropping and tillage system, and erosion rate. Indexed to other locations utilizing the RUSLE2 model and location-specific conditions.

12. The Soil Conditioning Index: Provides a means to evaluate and design conservation systems. Expresses the effects of the system on organic matter trends as a primary indicator of soil condition. Estimates the combined effect of three key variables on trends in soil organic carbon.

13. Soil Conditioning Index Organic Carbon Trend Analysis

14. Soil Conditioning Index (SCI)

15. Calculating the SCI: SCI = OM + FO + ER

16. The OM component accounts for average annual biomass production (including roots) based on locally available climatic (temperature and precipitation) data. BIOMASS (OM) SUBFACTOR

17. Calculating the OM Sub-factor Value: OM = (RP - MA) / MA Where: RP is average annual above and below ground biomass returned to the soil (including amendments) expressed as REV (corn equivalent) MA is the Maintenance Amount expressed as Residue Equivalent Value (REV) for the location

19. The FO component accounts for the effect of field operations which stimulate organic matter breakdown in soil. Field Operation (Tillage) impacts are assessed using parameters set in a certified Agricultural Research Service core operations database. FIELD OPERATIONS (FO) SUBFACTOR

20. Soil Tillage Intensity Rating (STIR) Utilizes the speed, depth, surface disturbance percent, and tillage type parameters to calculate a tillage intensity rating for the system used in growing a crop or a rotation. STIR ratings tend to show the differences in the degree of soil disturbance between systems. The kind, severity, and number of ground disturbing passes are evaluated for the rotation. New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006

21. Soil Tillage Intensity Ratings (STIR) New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006

22. Soil Tillage Intensity Ratings (STIR) STIR is cumulative – each field operation contributes to a summed STIR value for the management system. New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006

23. The ER component accounts for the sorting and/or removal of surface soil material (erosion) by irrigation, sheet, rill, and wind erosion processes. EROSION (ER) SUBFACTOR New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006

24. EROSION (ER) SUBFACTOR New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006New info based on Dave Lightle input March 2006

25. Calculating the SCI: SCI = (OM x 0.4) + (FO x 0.4) + (ER x 0.2) Discuss weighting factorsDiscuss weighting factors

26. Analysis If the SCI value is negative, soil organic matter is predicted to be declining, and corrective measures should be planned. If the SCI value is zero or positive, soil organic matter is predicted to be stable or increasing. Ideally, for our purposes ….. from here we move to brief discussion related to the field site. Again, ideally, we will have prepared some SCI runs within RUSLE2 for the field site to tie together the field view with what SCI is modeling as a trend ….. Also ….. I support highlighting the efficacy of SCI in comparison to other SOM trend models, but I opted not to include comparative scientific data from literature supportive of SCI and its comparison to other long-term research models. This is because I feel folks will get lost with the detail ….. and …… Wanted to stay within the attention span for adult learners! Ideally, for our purposes ….. from here we move to brief discussion related to the field site. Again, ideally, we will have prepared some SCI runs within RUSLE2 for the field site to tie together the field view with what SCI is modeling as a trend ….. Also ….. I support highlighting the efficacy of SCI in comparison to other SOM trend models, but I opted not to include comparative scientific data from literature supportive of SCI and its comparison to other long-term research models. This is because I feel folks will get lost with the detail ….. and …… Wanted to stay within the attention span for adult learners!

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