WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Organic & Integrated Tree Fruit Production

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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1378. Conacher, A. and J. Conacher. 1983. A survey of organic farming in Australia.. Biol. Agr. Hort. 1:241-254.
Describes a survey that sought to determine whether there were any farmers applying organic methods on a commercial basis in Australia, and what their motivations, practices, and success and problems were. Farms were identified, with 24 being grain/sheep operations. Results are similar to U.S. surveys. Farmers felt they had improved soil fertility, reduced erosion, and improved crop and livestock health. The environmental costs of modern agriculture are considerable in Australia. A 1975 estimate places land remediation for cropland and pasture at $675 million for that one year. Annual production losses were estimated in western Australia at $94 million.

2284. Greenland, D.J.. 1971. Changes in the N status and physical condition of soils under pastures.. Soils and fertilizers, 34(3): 237-251.
In the U.S. continuous cropping with inorganic N and herbicide use results in high yields. Would such practices work in Australia or would they result in soil degredation? This paper examines the role of pastures in maintaining soil quality. The study concludes that legume pastures are needed to maintain soil fertility in wheat growing areas. This is due to the high silt/fine sand content of the soil and the relationship between organic matter polysaccharides and soil structure necessary for maintaining soil porosity and water infiltration. T: Effects of a nitrification inhibitor (N-serve) on loss of N from soils during incubation. Mean annual soil N incements in soils under pasture. Changes in N content of soil under continuous fallow-wheat pasture and pasture-wheat rotations.

8675. Dalal, R.C. and R.J. Mayer. 1986. Long-term trends in fertility of soils under continuous cultivation and cereal cropping in southern Queensland. 1. Overall changes in soil properties. Austr. J. Soil Res. 24:265-279.

10436. Haines, P.J. and N.C. Uren. 1990. Effects of conservation tillage farming on soil microbial biomass, organic matter and earthworm populations, in northeastern Victoria.. Austral. J. Expt. Agric. 30:365-371.
Wheat was grown continuously for 7 years with conventional tillage and direct drilling (no-till). There was a significant gradient of organic matter under no-till. In the surface 2.5 cm, biomass C and N, and N mineralization were 35, 30, and 62% greater, respectively, than under conventional tillage. No-till did not significantly increase soil organic C or N. Of the estimated 7.8 t/ha of C added to the soil from crop residues, 4% was retained in the top 7.5 cm at the time of sampling. Microbial biomass varied considerably with season. The biomass of earthworms in the top 10 cm under no-till was more than twice that of conventional tillage, while total worm numbers increased significantly when wheat residue was retained versus burned.

10662. Ridley, A.M., W.J. Slattery, K.R. Helyar, and A. Cowling. 1990. The importance of the carbon cycle to acidification of a grazed annual pasture.. Austral. J. Expt. Agric. 30:529-537.
Soil samples were collected to a depth of 60 cm from a 73 year old experiment in Victoria, comparing an unfertilized field to two fertilized fields (4.5 t/ha superphosphate), one of which had also received lime. The soil pH of the fertilized field had declined relative to the unfertilized to a depth of at least 30 cm, while liming appeared to negate the acidification adequately. Carbon and nitrogen cycle acidification accounted for 65 and 35%, respectively, of the net acid addition on the fertilized field.

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