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Root biomass in cereals can be reliably estimated without considering aboveground biomass

Hu, Teng; Sørensen, P.; Wahlström, E.M.; Chirinda, Ngonidzashe; Sharif, Behzad; Li, Xiaoxi and Olesen, Jørgen E. (2017) Root biomass in cereals can be reliably estimated without considering aboveground biomass. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 0-0. [Submitted]

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Data of belowground plant biomass is very essential to estimate below ground carbon inputs to soils. Estimations of belowground plant biomass are often based on a fixed allometric relationship of plant biomass between aboveground and belowground parts. However, environmental and management factors may affect this allometric relationship making such estimates uncertain and biased. Therefore we aimed to explore how root biomass for typical cereal crops, catch crops and weeds can most reliably be estimated. Published and unpublished data on aboveground and root biomass (corrected to 0-25 cm depth) of cereal crops (wheat and barley), catch crops and weeds were collected from studies in Denmark. Leave one out cross validation was used to determine the model that could best estimate root biomass.
Root biomass varied with year, farming system (organic versus conventional) and cereal species. Shoot and root biomass of catch crops were higher than for weeds (sampled in late autumn), and farming system significantly affected root biomass of catch crops and weeds. The use of fixed root biomass based on the most influential factors provided the lowest error of prediction for estimation of root biomass, compared with the use of fixed allometric relations, such as root/shoot ratio. For cereal crops, the average root dry matter in organic farming systems was 218 g m-2 (243 and 193 g m-2 for wheat and barley, respectively), but in conventional systems only 139 g m-2 (142 and 129 g m-2 for wheat and barley, respectively). For catch crops and weeds, the root dry matter in organic farming systems were around 127 and 35 g m-2, and in conventional farming systems 75 and 28 g m-2, respectively.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:organic farming; shoot biomass; root biomass; root:shoot ratio; allometric root estimation
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 2 > RowCrop
Deposited By: Olesen, Senior scientist Jørgen E.
ID Code:31729
Deposited On:08 Aug 2017 12:43
Last Modified:08 Aug 2017 12:43
Document Language:English
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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