Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Organic Farming Beats No-Till?

Date:
July 24, 2007
Source:
United States Department of Agriculture
Summary:
Organic farming can build up soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming can, according to a long-term study. Organic farming, despite its emphasis on building organic matter, was thought to actually endanger soil because it relies on tillage and cultivation--instead of herbicides--to kill weeds. But the study showed that organic farming's addition of organic matter in manure and cover crops more than offset losses from tillage.

John Teasdale records data on weeds growing in a ripening organic wheat field next to a recently cultivated plot of organic corn.
Credit: Charles Phillips

Organic farming can build up soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming can, according to a long-term study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Researchers made this discovery during a nine-year study at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Md. BARC is operated by ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

Plant physiologist John Teasdale, with the ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, was surprised to find that organic farming was a better soil builder than no-till. No-till has always been thought to be the best soil builder because it eliminates plowing and minimizes even light tillage to avoid damaging organic matter and exposing the soil to erosion.

Organic farming, despite its emphasis on building organic matter, was thought to actually endanger soil because it relies on tillage and cultivation—instead of herbicides—to kill weeds.

But Teasdale's study showed that organic farming's addition of organic matter in manure and cover crops more than offset losses from tillage.

From 1994 to 2002, Teasdale compared light-tillage organic corn, soybean and wheat with the same crops grown with no-till plus pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

In a follow-up three-year study, Teasdale grew corn with no-till practices on all plots to see which ones had the most-productive soils. He found that the organic plots had more carbon and nitrogen and yielded 18 percent more corn than the other plots did.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Department of Agriculture. "Organic Farming Beats No-Till?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722162434.htm>.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2007, July 24). Organic Farming Beats No-Till?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722162434.htm
United States Department of Agriculture. "Organic Farming Beats No-Till?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722162434.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins