U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska



Dianna K. Bagnall, Soil Health InstituteFollow
Cristine L.S. Morgan, Soil Health Institute
Michael Cope, Soil Health Institute
Gregory M. Bean, Soil Health Institute
Shannon Cappellazzi, Soil Health Institute
Kelsey Greub, Soil Health Institute
Daniel Liptzin, Soil Health Institute
Charlotte L. Norris, Soil Health Institute
Elizabeth Rieke, Soil Health Institute
Paul Tracy, Soil Health Institute
Ezra Aberle, North Dakota State University
Amanda Ashworth, USDA ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit
Oscar Bañuelos Tavarez, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo
Andy Bary, Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center
R. Louis Baumhardt, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Alberto Borbón Gracia, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias
Daniel Brainard, Michigan State University
Jameson Brennan, South Dakota State University
Dolores Briones Reyes, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias
Darren Bruhjell, Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada
Cameron Carlyle, University of Alberta
James Crawford, University of Missouri
Cody Creech, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
Steven Culman, The Ohio State University
William Deen, University of Guelph
Curtis Dell, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Justin Derner, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Thomas Ducey, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Pennsylvania State University
Miles Dyck, University of Alberta
Benjamin Ellert, Lethbridge Research and Development Centre
Martin Entz, University of Manitoba
Avelino Espinosa Solorio, Sustentabilidad Agropecuaria Querétaro (SAQ)
Steven J. Fonte, Colorado State University
Simon Fonteyne, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo
Ann Marie Fortuna, USDA ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory
Jamie Foster, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Lisa Fultz, Louisiana State University
Audrey V. Gamble, Auburn University
Charles Geddes, Lethbridge Research and Development Centre

Document Type


Date of this Version



Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 2022;1–18.

DOI: 10.1002/saj2.20395


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License,


Currently accepted pedotransfer functions show negligible effect of management-induced changes to soil organic carbon (SOC) on plant available water holding capacity (θAWHC), while some studies show the ability to substantially increase θAWHC through management. The Soil Health Institute's North America Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements measured water content at field capacity using intact soil cores across 124 long-term research sites that contained increases in SOC as a result of management treatments such as reduced tillage and cover cropping. Pedotransfer functions were created for volumetric water content at field capacity (θFC) and permanent wilting point (θPWP). New pedotransfer functions had predictions of θAWHC that were similarly accurate compared with Saxton and Rawls when tested on samples from the National Soil Characterization database. Further, the new pedotransfer functions showed substantial effects of soil calcareousness and SOC on θAWHC. For an increase in SOC of 10 g kg–1 (1%) in noncalcareous soils, an average increase in θAWHC of 3.0 mm 100 mm–1 soil (0.03 m3 m–3) on average across all soil texture classes was found. This SOC related increase in θAWHC is about double previous estimates. Calcareous soils had an increase in θAWHC of 1.2 mm 100 mm–1 soil associated with a 10 g kg–1 increase in SOC, across all soil texture classes. New equations can aid in quantifying benefits of soil management practices that increase SOC and can be used to model the effect of changes in management on drought resilience.

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