Long-term soil change in the US Great Plains: An evaluation of the Haas Soil Archive

Mark A. Liebig, Francisco J. Calderon, Andrea K. Clemensen, Lisa Durso, Jessica L. Duttenhefner, Jed O. Eberly, Jonathan J. Halvorson, Virginia L. Jin, Kyle Mankin, Andrew J. Margenot, Catherine E. Stewart, Scott Van Pelt, Merle F. Vigil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diverse patterns of climate and edaphic factors challenge detection of soil property change in the US Great Plains. Because detectable soil change can take decades, insights into the trajectory of soil properties frequently require long-term site monitoring and, where available, associated soil archives to enable comparisons with initial or baseline states. Unfortunately, few multi-decadal soil change investigations have been conducted in this region. Here, we document effects of dryland cropping on a suite of soil properties by comparing matched historic (1947) and contemporary (2018) soil samples from the Haas Soil Archive at three sites in the US Great Plains: Moccasin, MT, Akron, CO, and Big Spring, TX. Current analytical methods were used to provide insight into changes in soil texture, pH, carbon, and micronutrients at 0- to 15.2-cm and 15.2- to 30.5-cm depths. Changes in direction and magnitude of soil properties over 71 years were site specific. Changes in textural class occurred at all sites, with Moccasin and Akron transitioning from loam to clay loam and Big Spring from sandy clay loam to sandy loam. The soil pH reaction class changed from slightly alkaline to moderately acid at Akron and slightly alkaline to moderately alkaline at Big Spring. At 0–15.2 cm, soil organic carbon decreased by 15% and 36% at Moccasin and Big Spring, respectively, but increased by 15% at Akron. Soil micronutrients generally declined at all sites. Weather-related variables derived from air temperature and precipitation records were not correlated with soil change. Inferred factors contributing to soil change included on-site management, inherent soil features, weather metrics not evaluated, or a combination thereof.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20502
JournalAgrosystems, Geosciences and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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