Submitted to: International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2000
Publication Date: 1/1/2001
Citation: Schillinger, W.F., R.J. Cook, D.L. Young, A.C. Kennedy, and K.E. Saxton. Alternative no-till cropping systems research in the semiarid Pacific Northwest USA. In Proceedings of the 11th Meeting of the International Soil Conservation Organization,22-27 October, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Farming in the dryland (less than 300 mm annual precipitation) region of the inland Pacific Northwest of the USA has been mostly an intensive tillage-based wheat-summer fallow system since the land was broken out of native grassland and sage in the 1880s. Tillage is well known to accelerate the loss of soil organic matter by increasing biological oxidation and often by increasing soil erosion. The loss is exacerbated with fallow because oxidation of carbon exceeds carbon input from crop residues during the 2-year cycle. Because of the decline in organic matter and associated soil quality, most tillage-based farming systems in dryland environments are not sustainable in the long-term. Options for maintaining and improving soil quality in the drylands are to simultaneously increase the cropping intensity and reduce or eliminate tillage.