Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Input of sugarcane post-harvest residues into the soil

Luís Nunes Carvalho, JoãoOtto, RafaelCoutinho Junqueira Franco, HenriqueCesar Ocheuze Trivelin, Paulo

Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) crops provide carbon (C) for soil through straw and root system decomposition. Recently, however, sugarcane producers are considering straw to be removed for electricity or second generation ethanol production. To elucidate the role of straw and root system on the carbon supply into the soil, the biomass inputs from sugarcane straw (tops and dry leaves) and from root system (rhizomes and roots) were quantified, and its contribution to provide C to the soil was estimated. Three trials were carried out in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2006 to 2009. All sites were cultivated with the variety SP81 3250 under the green sugarcane harvest. Yearly, post-harvest sugarcane residues (tops, dry leaves, roots and rhizomes) were sampled; weighted and dried for the dry mass (DM) production to be estimated. On average, DM root system production was 4.6 Mg ha-1 year-1 (1.5 Mg C ha-1 year-1) and 11.5 Mg ha-1 year-1 (5.1 Mg C ha-1 year-1) of straw. In plant cane, 35 % of the total sugarcane DM was allocated into the root system, declining to 20 % in the third ratoon. The estimate of potential allocation of sugarcane residues to soil organic C was 1.1 t ha-1 year-1; out of which 33 % was from root system and 67 % from straw. The participation of root system should be higher if soil layer is evaluated, a deeper soil layer, if root exudates are accounted and if the period of higher production of roots is considered.

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