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.

Related Articles


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 January 26, 2015 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 January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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