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Using minimum tillage to improve the efficiency of ecosystem service delivery on organic farms

Crowley, Oliver; Döring, Thomas F. and Measures, Mark (2012) Using minimum tillage to improve the efficiency of ecosystem service delivery on organic farms. In: McCracken, K (Ed.) Agriculture and the Environment IX, Valuing Ecosystems: Policy, Economic and Management Interactions, pp. 169-174.

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Organic farming practices aim to maximise the delivery of ecosystem services in the agricultural landscape. However, in order to maintain optimal crop productivity the mouldboard plough is often used to control weeds and this can have negative effects on a range of soil parameters, thereby jeopardizing delivery of these services. Reduced tillage (RT) can be beneficial to soils and could improve both the efficiency of production and the delivery of ecosystem services on organic farms. However, abandoning the plough on organic farms is challenging due to impaired weed control. Here we report on a two year trial where an RT system with the Ecodyn, with duck feet shares operating at a depth of 7.6 cm in combination with seed drilling, was compared with mouldboard ploughing. Spring oat and spring barley establishment was improved under RT. Weed cover and biomass was greater under RT, but there was no difference in cereal grain yields in either year. The RT system used 71% less fuel and tillage operations took 72% less time that the plough system.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Crop husbandry > Weed management
Research affiliation: UK
UK > Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC)
ISBN:1 85482 996 3
Deposited By: Crowley, Mr O
ID Code:20721
Deposited On:19 Apr 2012 12:00
Last Modified:19 Apr 2012 12:00
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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