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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Quality Affected by Method of Farming.

Authors
item Kennedy, Ann
item Schillinger, W - WASHINGTON ST UNIVERSITY
item Stubbs, Tami - WASHINGTON ST UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Columbia Plateau Wind Erosion Research Reports
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: December 10, 2004
Publication Date: December 30, 2004
Citation: Kennedy, A. C., Schillinger, W.F., Stubbs, T.L. 2004. Soil quality affected by method of farming. In Schillinger, W.F., editor. Northwest Columbia Plateau Wind Erosion/Air Quality Project Research Reports. Washington State University, Pullman, WA. p. 67-74.

Interpretive Summary: No-till and conservation tillage offer potential for improved soil properties, reduced erosion, and increased crop yields. Soil microbiological parameters may be early predictors of soil quality changes. [The previous sentence seems unrelated to the rest of the abstract or I S.] Soil disturbances associated with crop production may lead to a deterioration of soil quality and increase soil loss due to wind and water erosion. Field studies were conducted within long-term experiments using no-till and conservation practices. We evaluated several soil characteristics and monitored changes over time. Lack of severe disturbance due to tillage had a greater positive impact on soil quality than did removal of the surface residue. [Think about the message the previous sentence really conveys.] The change in soil properties with no-till adoption appears to take longer and can be more variable in lower rainfall zones. Changes occurring with microbial communities were measured before changes in organic matter or other chemical or physical parameters. We found that organic matter increased with long-term direct seed. This information will provide growers and scientists with information on soil changes with management.

Technical Abstract: No-till and conservation tillage offer potential for improved soil quality, reduced erosion, and equal or increased crop yields. Soil microbiological parameters may be early predictors of soil quality changes. Soil disturbances associated with crop production may lead to a deterioration of soil quality and increase soil loss due to wind and water erosion. The objective of this research was to characterize biological, physical and chemical soil quality parameters and monitor their changes over time in minimum tillage, no-till or direct seed planting systems as affected by soil disturbance, crop species and management systems. Field studies were conducted within long-term experiments using no-till and conservation practices. Soil quality parameters were assessed at these sites. However, lack of severe disturbance due to tillage had a greater positive impact on soil quality than did removal of the surface residue. The change in soil quality parameters as no-till is adopted appears to take longer and can be more variable in lower rainfall zones. Changes occurring with microbial communities were measured before changes in organic matter or other chemical or physical parameters. Most importantly, we found that organic matter increased with long-term direct seed. This information will provide growers and scientists with practical advice on soil quality to aid in the development of successful management practices.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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