Study

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This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Soil: Use reduced tillage in arable fields

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Soil: Use no tillage in arable fields

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Soil: Use reduced tillage in arable fields

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1991–2010 in rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea fields near Seville, Spain (same study as (16,34)), found more organic matter, fewer soil organisms, and more aggregation in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Organic matter: More organic carbon was found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in four of ten comparisons (6–9 vs 5–7 g C/kg soil). Soil organisms: Less microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of ten comparisons (in autumn, 1–2 mm aggregates: 67 vs 107 g microbial C/kg organic C). Soil erosion and aggregation: More large aggregates were found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in autumn (1–2 mm aggregates: 18 vs 16% of soil weight; 2–5 mm: 35 vs 31%), and fewer small aggregates were found in one of three comparisons, in autumn (0.25–0.5 mm aggregates: 14 vs 19% of soil weight). However, no differences in aggregate distributions were found in spring (data reported for five aggregate sizes). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (300 m2 plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a cultivator (15–20 cm depth, two passes), and a disc harrow (5–7 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A chisel plough (15–20 cm depth, every other year) and a disc harrow (5–7 cm depth) were used for reduced tillage, and crop residues were retained (>60% cover). Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in spring and autumn 2010 (0–10 cm depth, five samples/plot).

     

  2. Soil: Use no tillage in arable fields

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2004–2010 in rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea fields near Seville, Spain (same study as (13,33)), found more organic matter and more soil aggregation in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Organic matter: More organic carbon was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in four of ten comparisons (6–10 vs 5–6 g C/kg soil). Soil organisms: Similar amounts of microbial biomass (measured as carbon) were found in soils with no tillage or conventional tillage (20–75 vs 27–87 g microbial C/kg organic C). Soil erosion and aggregation: More large aggregates were found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in autumn, in one of two comparisons (1–2 mm aggregates: 20 vs 17% of soil weight), and fewer small aggregates were found in autumn, in one of three comparisons (<0.25 mm aggregates: 15 vs 21% of soil weight). However, no differences in aggregate distributions were found in spring (data reported for five aggregate sizes). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (200 m2 plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a cultivator (15–20 cm depth, two passes), and a disk harrow (15 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A seed drill and pre-emergence herbicide were used for no tillage, and crop residues were retained (>60% cover). Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in spring and autumn 2010 (0–10 cm depth, five samples/plot).

     

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