Corn and soybean rotation could pose long-term tradeoffs for soil health

Corn and soybean grow alongside one another in a field. Corn and soybean crop rotation provides benefits for farmers but also could reduce soil organic matter, according to new research from ISU scientists. Credit: Steven Hall

Rotating corn and soybeans, a widely used practice among Midwest farmers, potentially could contribute to long-term declines in soil organic matter, according to new research from an Iowa State University scientist.

Steven Hall, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, led the study, published recently in the academic journal Plant and Soil. The study examines the mechanisms that drive the decomposition of organic matter in soils that undergo long-term corn and soybean rotations. Hall said the study shows how corn and soybean rotations can provide important environmental and management benefits for farmers, but the…

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