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Effects of reduced tillage on soil organic carbon and microbial activity in a clayey soil

Berner, Alfred; Fliessbach, Andreas; Nietlisbach, Bruno and Mäder, Paul (2008) Effects of reduced tillage on soil organic carbon and microbial activity in a clayey soil. In: Neuhoff, Daniel and et al., (Eds.) Proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), held at the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress in Cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

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Summary

In a long-term field trial recently launched (2002-2011), located in Frick (878 mm mean annual precipitation) near Basle, Switzerland, the effect of reduced tillage on soil fertility indicators and crop yield was studied in a heavy soil (45% clay) in a crop rotation under organic farming conditions. We present the results of soil analyses after three cropping years (2002-2005). Soil organic carbon (Corg) increased over that period by 7.4% (+1.5 g Corg kg-1 soil) in the 0-10 cm soil layer in the reduced tillage plots, while it remained constant in the ploughed plots. Soil microbial carbon (Cmic) and dehydrogenase activity (DHA, TTC-reduction) were 28% higher in reduced-tillage plots in this soil layer. Biological soil quality as calculated by Cmic to Corg was 15% enhanced under reduced tillage. In the 10-20 cm soil layer no significant Corg, Cmic, Cmic to Corg and DHA differences between the tillage schemes were found. It is suggested that reduced tillage improves important indicators of soil fertility during the conversion period. Long-term aspects of soil fertility, crop yield and weed infestation need investigation over a prolonged experimental period.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Key words: soil fertility; cultivation; soil organic matter; crop farming; reduced tillage
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Soil > Soil quality
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2008: IFOAM OWC: Research Track / ISOFAR > 2.1 Soil fertility
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil Sciences
Related Links:http://www.isofar.org/modena2008/proceedings.html
Deposited By: Berner, Alfred
ID Code:12303
Deposited On:06 Oct 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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