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Individual study: Effect of tillage on soil organic carbon mineralization estimated from 13C abundance in maize fields

Published source details

Balesdent J., Mariotti A. & Boisgontier D. (1990) Effect of tillage on soil organic carbon mineralization estimated from 13C abundance in maize fields. Journal of Soil Science, 41, 587-596


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Change tillage practices Soil Fertility

A replicated experiment in 1985-1987 on loamy soil in Essonne, France (Balesdent et al. 1990) found that, soil organic carbon in wheat Triticum aestivum was higher under no-tillage (11.14 mg C/g) compared to conventional tillage (10.1 mg C/g). Superficial tillage was similar to conventional in the ploughed layer. In maize Zea mays, superficial tillage had higher soil organic carbon (9.88 mg C/g) compared to no-tillage (6.73 mg C/g) and conventional tillage (9.3 mg C/g). Average annual maize yields were 6.5 t/ha under conventional, 6.2 t/ha under superficial and 5.7 t/ha under no-tillage (wheat not reported). Crops were continuous wheat and maize. Three tillage treatments were applied to each crop in four replicates: conventional (ploughing to 30 cm, field cultivator), superficial (rotivator to 12 cm, field cultivator) and no-tillage (direct sowing). Plot size not specified. Soil samples were taken from 10 x 20 cm areas in each treatment, and carbon levels were measured using 13carbon.