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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Impact of Organic Production Practices on Soil Quality Indicators for Select Farms in Nebraska and North Dakota

item Liebig, Mark - UNIV OF NE/NEW ARS EMPL
item Doran, John

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Increased adoption of organic production practices warrants the need to better understand their effects on soil quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of organic production practices on soil quality indicators for select farms in Nebraska and North Dakota. Five organic and conventional farms, paired by soil type, were selected for the study and basic indicators of soil quality were measured. Average organic C levels in the surface 30.5 cm were higher on organic farms as compared to conventional farms by 10,748 kg ha-1 in Nebraska and 15,304 kg ha-1 in Nort Dakota. Organic farms in Nebraska possessed higher overall available water-holding capacity (by 0.03 cm3 cm-3) and lower overall soil bulk density (by 0.13 g cm-3) as compared to conventional farms. Nutrient level in excess of crop needs were observed in individual cases on both organic and conventional farms. Despite this, organic farms had a greater proportion of mineralizable N as compared to NO3 in the surface 30.5 cm. For conditions unique to this study, organic practices had a greater capacity to improve soil condition as compared to conventional practices due mainly to the use of more diverse crop sequences and less frequent tillage.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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