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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389644

Research Project: Management Practices for Long Term Productivity of Great Plains Agriculture

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Title: Assessing the effects of no-till cultivation practices on soil health

item Hamm, Alison - Ali
item Manter, Daniel

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/8/2022
Publication Date: 10/10/2022
Citation: Hamm, A.K., Manter, D.K. 2022. Assessing the effects of no-till cultivation practices on soil health. In: Horwath, W., editor. Improving Soil Health. London: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. p. 123-146.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Tillage has been used for thousands of years to both prepare the seed bed and control weeds in crops. No-till (NT) is a conservation farming system resulting in minimal soil disturbance. In the U.S., NT adoption increased in reaction to the Dust Bowl and the desire to prevent wind and water erosion. Since then, NT has increased in popularity due to its potential to reduce farm inputs, especially labor and fuel, and improve soil health. The goal of this chapter is to assess the effect of NT on soil health. Soil health is difficult to define, and may differ based on the objectives and scale being considered as it is context-dependent and differs across locations. As a result, our discussion of the impact of NT on soil health will cover a range of physical, chemical, and biological soil properties that combined contribute to the function and vitality of soil. This chapter also discusses the many other challenges - weed control, compaction, runoff, and leaching - associated with NT adoption and associated practices (cover crops, crop rotations, and reduced fertilizer application) that in combination can help improve the success of NT management.