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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microbiological Approaches to Developing Sustainable Agriculture

Author
item Elliott Lloyd F,

Submitted to: International Agroecology Sustainable and Education Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 18, 1994
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The development of sustainable cropping is a critical international goal. Management of the soil microbiological flora will be a key component for developing sustainable cropping systems. Microbiological processes affect many soil properties, and these processes can be influenced by crop residue management and tillage. Reduced tillage and surface-managed residues appear rto benefit soil properties and to increase the soil microbial biomass. However, large quantities of surface-managed residues appear to increase the incidence of deleterious rhizosphere microorganisms that inhibit winter wheat growth. Inclusion of a legume in the rotation benefits the soil microbial biomass and increases soil N content. Sod crops in the crop rotation sequence benefit soil stability, decreasing susceptibility to erosion. Organic farming practices increase the soil microbial biomass, increase soil resistance to erosion, and likely increase nutrient cycling. The use of deleterious rhizosphere microorganisms for weed control appears promising as an environmentally benign approach. Low-input, on-farm composting provides a means for upgrading crop residues so they can contribute more to a sustainable cropping system.

Technical Abstract: Microbiological processes affect many soil properties, and these processes can be influenced by crop residue management and tillage. Reduced tillage and surface-managed residues appear to benefit soil properties and to increase the soil microbial biomass. However large quantities of surface- managed residues appear to increase the incidence of deleterious rhizosphere microorganisms that inhibit winter wheat growth. Inclusion of a legume in the rotation benefits the soil microbial biomass and increases soil N content. Sod crops in the crop rotation sequence benefit soil stability, decreasing susceptibility to erosion. Organic farming practices increase the soil microbial biomass, increase soil resistance to erosion, and likely increase nutrient cycling. The use of deleterious rhizosphere microorganisms for weed control appears promising as an environmentally benign approach. Low-input, on-farm composting provides a means for upgrading crop residues so they can contribute more to a sustainable cropping system.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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