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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Soil Biological Indicators During Three Year Transition from Conventional to Alternative and Organic Cropping Systems

Authors
item Johnson, Jane
item Archer, David
item Weyers, Sharon
item Barbour, Nancy
item Eklund, James
item Wilts, Alan

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 4, 2004
Publication Date: November 4, 2004
Citation: Johnson, J.M., Archer, D.W., Lachnicht Weyers, S.L., Barbour, N.W., Eklund, J.J., Wilts, A.R. 2004. Comparison of soil biological indicators during three year transition from conventional to alternative and organic cropping systems [CD-ROM]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Madison, Wisconsin.

Technical Abstract: Contrasts of management strategies are essential for integrating benefits and risks into the identification of economically viable and environmentally sustainable farming systems. It is hypothesized that minimizing tillage, diversifying crop rotation and utilizing organic cropping systems, as alternative management strategies, can improve soil quality and enhance sustainability. In 2002, field plots of long-term cropping systems were established in central MN. Contrasts of organic vs. conventional systems with two- or four-year crop rotations and conventional or strip tillage were made. A period of transition was expected after introducing alternative management strategies; therefore, crop yields and soil physical, chemical and biological factors were monitored annually for the three years after initiation of treatments. Differences in microbial biomass C (MBC) were observed between organic and conventional. By the second year of the experiment, organic system plots treated with manure had 5 to 24% more MBC under strip till and conventional till, respectively, compared to conventional systems' plots without manure. Except for organic systems with conventional tillage, increased crop diversity with the four year crop rotation appeared to increase MBC by the second year of the experiment.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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