Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2005
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
Citation: Low Soil Disturbance Organic Cropping Systems: Lessons Learned During the First Four Years. Huggins, D.R.Abstracts 2005 International Annual Meetings American Society of Agronomy. Nov. 6-10, Salt Lake City, UT. Technical Abstract: Few organic systems have eliminated inversion tillage. In the dryland cropping region of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, soil erosion hazards due to steep terrain precludes the use of primary inversion tillage in the design of sustainable organic systems. In addition, organic systems with low soil disturbance slow the decomposition of soil organic carbon and stratify the weed seed-bank near the soil surface. During the fall of 2001, a low disturbance organic cropping system was initiated within the Agroecosystem Research Trials (ART) at the USDA-ARS Palouse Conservation Field Station near Pullman, WA. The field-scale trials integrate cover crops, forage legumes, and spring cash crops into a rotation with 3 phases: (1) intercrop; (2) legume hay/green manure; and (3) spring cereal. Seeding operations are accomplished using no-till drill and broadcast methods. Mechanical mowing and undercutting sweeps are used for low disturbance management of cover crops, volunteer grain and weeds. Lessons learned during the first four years are discussed.