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From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217 cwrice@ksu.edu

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214 sstaggen@ksu.edu

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105 swatson@ksu.edu



Effects of One-Time Tillage

on Soils in No-till Cropland


A University of Nebraska study by C.S. Wortmann and colleagues published in the August 2010 edition of Agronomy Journal has followed up on previous research regarding the effects of a one-time tillage operation on various characteristics of soil in a no-till cropping system.


The current research examined several soil properties five years after a one-time tillage with a moldboard plow, minimoldboard plow, chisel with a twisted shank, and disk, and compared that to the same soil properties under continuous no-till.


Stratification of soil test phosphorus, soil organic carbon, and bulk density was similar for all tillage treatments at 5 years after tillage. Water stable soil aggregates were not affected by tillage treatments except that there was more soil as macroaggregates at one location in the 5- to 10-cm depth with moldboard plow tillage compared with no-till. Tillage treatments had no effect on soil organic carbon mass in the 0- to 30-cm depth. Biomass of bacteria, actinomycetes, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi was greater with no-till compared with one-time moldboard plow tillage at one location but not affected by the one-time tillage at the other location. Microbial community structure differed among tillage treatments at the 0- to 5-cm depth at one location but not at the other location. Grain yield generally was not affected by tillage treatment. The authors concluded that one-time tillage of no-till can be done without measureable effects on yield or soil properties.


This study adds to a study published in a 2007 edition of Agronomy Journal, also from the University of Nebraska. The results and conclusions of the two studies are similar.


Agronomy Journal, July 2010, Volume 102, Issue 4



Agronomy Journal, July 2007, Volume 99, Issue 4



-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications






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