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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Tillage effects on the dynamics of total and corn-residue-derived soil organic matter in two southern Ontario soils

Published source details

Wanniarachchi S.D., Voroney R.P., Vyn T.J., Beyaert R.P. & MacKenzie a.F. (1999) Tillage effects on the dynamics of total and corn-residue-derived soil organic matter in two southern Ontario soils. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 79, 473-480


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Change tillage practices Soil Fertility

A replicated experiment in 1982-1994 on silt loam (Delhi) and sandy loam (Elora) in Canada (Wanniarachchi et al. 1999) found no change in overall soil carbon under minimal and no-tillage compared to conventional tillage. Carbon from corn Zea mays made up 25-26% of total carbon at Delhi under minimum and conventional tillage, equivalent to 61-65 g C/m2/y. At Elora, carbon from corn made up 10% and 8.4% of total carbon under conventional and no-tillage respectively.  Corn yield at Delhi was lower under no-tillage (7.1 Mg/ha/dry weight) compared to conventional (7.3 Mg/ha), and at Elora was lower under minimum (6.6 Mg/ha) compared to conventional tillage (6.9 Mg/ha). At Delhi there were two treatments under continuous corn Zea mays and tobacco Nicotiana tabacum-rye Secale cereale crops: conventional tillage (spring mouldboard ploughing to 15 cm depth followed by discing twice to 10 cm depth), and no-tillage. At Elora were two treatments under continuous corn: conventional (autumn mouldboard ploughing to 20 cm depth followed by secondary tillage with a field cultivator), and minimum tillage (autumn chisel ploughing to 12 cm depth and spring secondary tillage). There were four replicates. Plot size was not specified. Soils were sampled to 50 cm depth at both sites.