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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Strategies to Predict and Manipulate Responses of Crops and Crop Disease to Anticipated Changes of Carbon Dioxide, Ozone and Temperature

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Why do we need to standardize no-tillage research?

Authors
item Derpsch, Rolf -
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Duiker, Sjoerd -
item Koeller, Karl-Heinz -
item Reicosky, Donald -

Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2013
Publication Date: December 12, 2013
Citation: Derpsch, R., Franzluebbers, A.J., Duiker, S., Koeller, K., Reicosky, D.S. 2014. Why do we need to standardize no-tillage research?. Soil & Tillage Research. 137:16-22.

Interpretive Summary: No-tillage / conservation agricultural systems research has now been performed for more than half a century in many countries around the world, but few efforts have been made to standardize research methodology. This has led to a situation where no-tillage research results have often not been directly comparable, because different technologies, methodologies, and definitions of conservation agricultural systems have been applied. Even contradictory results have become a consequence. We contend that broad understanding is lacking of what conservation agricultural systems research means. Materials and methods in an experiment are oftentimes not descriptive enough to unveil peculiarities. In some cases, researchers have used the term no-tillage despite considerable soil movement occurs at seeding, with burial of crop residues. In this editorial, we discuss frequently occurring issues of not adequately defining treatments and lack of thorough description of materials and methods, which can lead to contradictory and confusing interpretations of results. By not performing no-tillage research in a systems approach, yield drag can occur in the first years of applying the technology. We contend that standardization of research methodologies in no-tillage / conservation agricultural systems is necessary to better compare results from different researchers, as well as from different countries and regions of the world.

Technical Abstract: No-tillage / conservation agricultural systems research has now been performed for more than half a century in many countries around the world, but few efforts have been made to standardize research methodology. This has led to a situation where no-tillage research results have often not been directly comparable, because different technologies, methodologies, and definitions of conservation agricultural systems have been applied. Even contradictory results have become a consequence. We contend that broad understanding is lacking of what conservation agricultural systems research means. Materials and methods in an experiment are oftentimes not descriptive enough to unveil peculiarities. In some cases, researchers have used the term no-tillage despite considerable soil movement occurs at seeding, with burial of crop residues. In this editorial, we discuss frequently occurring issues of not adequately defining treatments and lack of thorough description of materials and methods, which can lead to contradictory and confusing interpretations of results. By not performing no-tillage research in a systems approach, yield drag can occur in the first years of applying the technology. We contend that standardization of research methodologies in no-tillage / conservation agricultural systems is necessary to better compare results from different researchers, as well as from different countries and regions of the world.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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