Effect of crop rotations and rotation phase on characteristics of soil organic matter in a dark brown chenozemic soil

  • Published source details Campbell C.A., Brandt S.A., Biederbeck V.O., Zentner R.P. & Schnitzer M. (1992) Effect of crop rotations and rotation phase on characteristics of soil organic matter in a dark brown chenozemic soil. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 72, 403-416.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use crop rotation

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Use crop rotation

    A replicated, randomized, controlled experiment in 1988 on a loam/clay loam soil in Saskatchewan, Canada (Campbell et al. 1992) found that crop rotations including grain crops and alfalfa Medicago sativa decreased soil organic matter in fallow and grain crop phases, but increased soil organic nitrogen in 4- (37.7 kg/ha/yr) and 6-year (43.9 kg/ha/yr) barley rotations in comparison to continuous wheat (31.1 kg/ha/yr). Microbial biomass was increased by including alfalfa in the rotation (by 26.6 mg C/kg and 10 mg N/kg), as was carbon release into the soil (by 6 mg C/kg). The experiment was part of a long term crop rotation study started in 1964, and over the course of the trial included wheat Triticum aestivum (replaced with canola Brassica campestris), barley Hordeum vulgare (replaced with oats Avena sativa) and alfalfa. There were 10 rotations of 2-5 crop types for four or six years, replicated four times in plots of 7.3 x 30.4 m. There were two, three, four, and six year rotations. Crop management followed recommended field practice. Soil samples were taken to 15 cm depth. Organic carbon and nitrogen, carbon release, and microbial biomass were measured.


Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust