Soil microbial properties and the assessment of available soil organic matter in a haplic Luvisol after several years of different cultivation and crop rotation
This study is summarised as evidence for the following.
Change tillage practicesAction Link
Change tillage practices
A replicated experiment in 1990 on silty-clay soil near Stuttgart, Germany (Friedel et al. 1996) found that organic carbon, nitrogen and soil microbial activities in the topsoil were higher in rotary cultivated plots (1.6% C, 1.7 mg N/g, 6.8 μmol ATP/kg respectively) than under ploughing (1.3% C, 1.45 mg N/g, 4.5 μmol ATP/kg respectively). Below the topsoil, there was either no difference between tillage systems, or there was a marginal increase in the ploughed plots. There was an overlapping effect of cultivation and crop rotation on soil organic matter and microbial biomass. There were four replicates of two tillage treatments (ploughing to 25 cm; rotary cultivation 10-12 cm depth), and two crop rotations: legume/cereals (alfalfa Medicago sativa/wheat Triticum aestivum/oats Avena sativa/clover grass Trifolium spp.); rape Brassica napus/cereals (rape/wheat/oats/barley Hordeum vulgare). Plots were 15 x 6 m. Soil organic matter was added to the plots. Soil samples were collected to 25 cm depth. Enzyme activities, organic carbon, the potential for carbon and nitrogen mineralization and water-soluble carbon were measured.