Increasing the input and turnover of root tissue is considered to be one method that may increase carbon (C) inputs and storage in soil. The use of herbicide during pasture renewal (periodic re-sowing of pasture) is expected to increase root inputs and turnover as plants die. The objective of this study was to quantify the short-term impact of pasture renewal on root turnover and C input to soil of ryegrass-clover pastures.
Pastures were labelled in the field using a 13C isotope pulse labelling method within 1 m2 clear chambers. Five daily labelling events were carried out during one week in paired treatment plots within 3 replicate paddocks. One plot per paddock was sprayed with herbicide and then the pasture was renewed by direct drilling of seed. The 13C of roots and soil (0–100 mm) was measured at regular intervals over an 89-day period.
Herbicide application caused an initial rapid turnover time of 17 days followed by a slower turnover time of 524 days, compared to unsprayed pasture which had a root turnover of 585 days. Faster root turnover following herbicide application resulted in greater cumulative C input to soil over 89 days with approximately double the C input in the sprayed treatment (3238 ± 378 kg C ha−1) compared to the unsprayed treatment (1726 ± 540 kg C ha−1).
The use of glyphosate during pasture renewal increased root turnover and resulted in a greater short term cumulative C input to soil. This study provides the first values of root turnover and C input to soil during a pasture renewal event in New Zealand pasture systems and contributes to the understanding of how pasture roots may influence the soil C input following plant death in grassland systems.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aerts R, Bakker C, De Caluwe H (1992) Root turnover as determinant of the cycling of C, N, and P in a dry heathland ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 15:175–190
Baker JM, Ochsner TE, Venterea RT, Griffis TJ (2007) Tillage and soil carbon sequestration—What do we really know? Agric Ecosyst Environ 118:1–5
Baylis AD (2000) Why glyphosate is a global herbicide: strengths, weaknesses and prospects. Pest Manag Sci 56:299–308
Beare M, McNeill S, Curtin D, Parfitt R, Jones H, Dodd M, Sharp J (2014) Estimating the organic carbon stabilisation capacity and saturation deficit of soils: a New Zealand case study. Biogeochemistry 120:71–87
Brazendale R, Bryant J, Lambert M, Holmes C, Fraser T (2011) Pasture persistence: how much is it worth. Pasture Persistence-Grassland Research and Practice Series 15: 3–6.
Cheng W, Coleman DC, Box JE (1991) Measuring root turnover using the minirhizotron technique. Agric Ecosyst Environ 34:261–267
Clark D, Caradus J, Monaghan R, Sharp P, Thorrold B (2007) Issues and options for future dairy farming in New Zealand. N Z J Agric Res 50:203–221
Conant RT, Easter M, Paustian K, Swan A, Williams S (2007) Impacts of periodic tillage on soil C stocks: a synthesis. Soil Tillage Res 95:1–10
Denef K, Six J (2006) Contributions of incorporated residue and living roots to aggregate-associated and microbial carbon in two soils with different clay mineralogy. Eur J Soil Sci 57:774–786
FAO (2013) FAO statistical year book 2013: World food and agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome
Fox J (2005) Getting started with the R commander: a basic-statistics graphical user interface to R. J Stat Softw 14:1–42
Gibbs R, Reid J, (1992) Comparison between net and gross root production by winter wheat and by perennial ryegrass. N Z J Crop Hortic Sci 20(4):483–487
Gill RA, Jackson RB (2000) Global patterns of root turnover for terrestrial ecosystems. New Phytol 147:13–31
Gill RA, Burke IC, Lauenroth WK, Milchunas DG (2002) Longevity and turnover of roots in the shortgrass steppe: influence of diameter and depth. Plant Ecol 159:241–251
Hewitt AE (1993) New Zealand Soil Classification. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln
Johnson JM-F, Franzluebbers AJ, Weyers SL, Reicosky DC (2007) Agricultural opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Environ Pollut 150:107–124
Jones M, Donnelly A (2004) Carbon sequestration in temperate grassland ecosystems and the influence of management, climate and elevated CO2. New Phytol 164:423–439
Joslin J, Gaudinski JB, Torn MS, Riley W, Hanson PJ (2006) Fine-root turnover patterns and their relationship to root diameter and soil depth in a 14C-labeled hardwood forest. New Phytol 172:523–535
Kerr GA, Brown J, Kilday T, Stevens DR (2015) A more quantitative approach to pasture renewal. J N Z Grassl 77:251–258
Klumpp K, Fontaine S, Attard E, Le Roux X, Gleixner G, Soussana JF (2009) Grazing triggers soil carbon loss by altering plant roots and their control on soil microbial community. J Ecol 97:876–885
Kong AYY, Six J (2010) Tracing root vs. residue carbon into soils from conventional and alternative cropping systems. Soil Sci Soc Am J 74:1201–1210
Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Geoderma 123:1–22
Lal R (2009) Challenges and opportunities in soil organic matter research. Eur J Soil Sci 60:158–169
Leifeld J, Meyer S, Budge K, Sebastia MT, Zimmermann M, Fuhrer J (2015) Turnover of Grassland Roots in Mountain Ecosystems Revealed by Their Radiocarbon Signature: Role of Temperature and Management. PLoS One 10:e0119184
MacLeod CJ, Moller H (2006) Intensification and diversification of New Zealand agriculture since 1960: An evaluation of current indicators of land use change. Agric Ecosyst Environ 115:201–218
Matamala R, Gonzalez-Meler MA, Jastrow JD, Norby RJ, Schlesinger WH (2003) Impacts of fine root turnover on forest NPP and soil C sequestration potential. Science 302:1385–1387
McNally SR, Laughlin DC, Rutledge S, Dodd MB, Six J, Schipper LA (2015) Root carbon inputs under moderately diverse sward and conventional ryegrass-clover pasture: implications for soil carbon sequestration. Plant Soil 392:289–299
MfE (2010) Land Use Environmental Snapshot. Ministry for the Environment, Wellington. http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/environmentalreporting/land/land-use-indicator/land-use-environmental-snapshot. Accessed August 2015
Mudge PL, Wallace DF, Rutledge S, Campbell DI, Schipper LA, Hosking CL (2011) Carbon balance of an intensively grazed temperate pasture in two climatically contrasting years. Agric Ecosyst Environ 144:271–280
Muggeo VM (2008) Segmented: an R package to fit regression models with broken-line relationships. R news 8:20–25
NIWA (2015) Cliflo National Climate Database. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. http://www.cliflo.niwa.co.nz. Accessed August 2015.
NPIC (2010) Glyphosate Technical Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/glyphotech.html. Accessed August 2015.
Paustian K, Six J, Elliott ET, Hunt HW (2000) Management options for reducing CO2 emissions from agricultural soils. Biogeochemistry 48:147–163
Pucheta E, Bonamici I, Cabido M, Díaz S (2004) Below-ground biomass and productivity of a grazed site and a neighbouring ungrazed exclosure in a grassland in Central Argentina. Austral Ecol 29:201–208
Rutledge S, Mudge PL, Wallace DF, Campbell DI, Woodward SL, Wall AM, Schipper LA (2014) CO2 emissions following cultivation of a temperate permanent pasture. Agric Ecosyst Environ 184:21–33
Rutledge S, Mudge P, Campbell D, Woodward S, Goodrich J, Wall A, Kirschbaum M, Schipper L (2015) Carbon balance of an intensively grazed temperate dairy pasture over four years. Agric Ecosyst Environ 206:10–20
Saggar S, Hedley CB (2001) Estimating seasonal and annual carbon inputs, and root decomposition rates in a temperate pasture following field 14C pulse-labelling. Plant Soil 236:91–103
Saggar S, Hedley CB, Mackay AD (1997) Partitioning and translocation of photosynthetically fixed 14C in grazed hill pastures. Biol Fertil Soils 25:152–158
Saggar S, Mackay AD, Hedley CB (1999) Hill slope effects on the vertical fluxes of photosynthetically fixed 14C in a grazed pasture. Soil Res 37:655–666
Scott J, Stewart D, Metherell A (2012) Alteration of pasture root carbon turnover in response to superphosphate and irrigation at Winchmore New Zealand. N Z J Agric Res 55:147–159
Smith P, Martino D, Cai Z, Gwary D, Janzen H, Kumar P, McCarl B, Ogle S, O’Mara F, Rice C (2008) Greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Philos Trans R Soc B 363:789–813
Soussana JF, Loiseau P, Vuichard N, Ceschia E, Balesdent J, Chevallier T, Arrouays D (2004) Carbon cycling and sequestration opportunities in temperate grasslands. Soil Use Manag 20:219–230
StatisticsNZ (2012) 2012 Agricultural Census tables. Statistics New Zealand. http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/agriculturehorticulture-forestry/2012-agricultural-census-tables/land-use.aspx. Accessed August 2015.
Stewart D, Metherell A (1999) Carbon (13C) uptake and allocation in pasture plants following field pulse-labelling. Plant Soil 210:61–73
Toms JD, Lesperance ML (2003) Piecewise regression: a tool for identifying ecological thresholds. Ecology 84:2034–2041
Wardle D, Nicholson K, Rahman A (1994) Influence of herbicide applications on the decomposition, microbial biomass, and microbial activity of pasture shoot and root litter. N Z J Agric Res 37:29–39
Willems AB, Augustenborg CA, Hepp S, Lanigan G, Hochstrasser T, Kammann C, Müller C (2011) Carbon dioxide emissions from spring ploughing of grassland in Ireland. Agric Ecosyst Environ 144:347–351
Woodward SL, Waugh CD, Roach CG, Fynn D, Phillips J (2013) Are diverse species mixtures better pastures for dairy farming. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association 75: 79–84.
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Eric Paterson (editor) for their suggestions to improve the manuscript. We would like to acknowledge funding provided through the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse gas Research Centre, DairyNZ and the University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship. Also to DairyNZ and Scott Farm staff for allowing this study to be carried out on site, and particularly Chris Roach, Deanne Waugh, Jason Phillips and other staff for all the help throughout the project. We would also like to acknowledge Janine Ryburn, Dean Sandwell, and Anjana Radjendram for laboratory assistance and sample analysis.
Responsible Editor: Eric Paterson.
About this article
Cite this article
McNally, S.R., Laughlin, D.C., Rutledge, S. et al. Herbicide application during pasture renewal initially increases root turnover and carbon input to soil in perennial ryegrass and white clover pasture. Plant Soil 412, 133–142 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-016-3050-7
- Pasture renewal
- Root turnover
- Soil carbon input
- Temperate pastures
- Carbon storage