Effects of four tillage systems on soil structure and soil microbial biomass in organic farming

  • Published source details Vian J. F., Peigne J., Chaussod R. & Roger-Estrade J. (2009) Effects of four tillage systems on soil structure and soil microbial biomass in organic farming. Soil Use and Management, 25, 1-10.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change tillage practices

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Change tillage practices

    A randomized, replicated experiment in 2005-2006 on calcareous sandy-loam soil in Lyon, France (Vian et al. 2009) found that mouldboard tillage reduced compacted zones (23% of ground surface) compared to shallow mouldboard (34%), reduced (34%) and shallow tillage systems (38%). The compacted areas in the mouldboard tillage were restricted mainly to wheeled areas. Mouldboard ploughing also created better conditions for microbial growth. There were three replicates of four tillage systems: mouldboard ploughing (35 cm depth), shallow mouldboard ploughing (15-18 cm), reduced tillage (chisel plough, 15 cm), shallow tillage (rotary cultivator, 5-7 cm). Sample plots measured 12 x 80 m. A regional traditional alfalfa Medicago sativa/maize Zea mays/soya Glycine max/wheat Triticum aestivum rotation was used. For each treatment 10 compacted and 10 non-compacted soil clods were sampled. Soil structure, total organic carbon and nitrogen, and microbial biomass (volume of organisms per unit area) were measured.


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