WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Organic & Integrated Tree Fruit Production

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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3154. Beck, Dwayne. 1990 Apr.. untitled news brief. Acres USA, p. 18.
A South Dakota State University study showed that soil untilled for six years was able to absorb ten inches of rainfall for a two hour period, compared to 0.6 inches an hour for a plowed portion. Earthworm channels were felt to be the factor on the untilled soil. Tillage cuts off the channels from the surface.

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.

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