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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 6, p. 1782-1787
    Received: Sept 24, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Periodic Plowing Effects on Soil Properties in a No-Till Farming System

  1. F. J. Pierce ,
  2. M.-C. Fortin and
  3. M. J. Staton
  1. Crop and Soil Sciences Dep., Michigan State Univ., 564 PSSB, East Lansing, MI 48824
    Agriculture Canada Research Branch, British Columbia Land Resource Unit, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research, 6660 N.W. Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T-1X2
    Michigan State Univ. Extension, 108 Agriculture Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824



Soils in no-tillage management are often plowed for crop rotation or to correct a pest or soil management problem. This study determined whether soil properties created by no-tillage were retained or reestablished after plowing and return to no-tillage. The study was conducted on a Capac loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Aeric Ochraqualf) in East Lansing, MI. In 1986 and 1987, one each of three treatments in no-tillage since 1980 was plowed and subsequently returned to notillage (NTP86 and NTP87) and compared with conventional tillage (CT) and long-term no-tillage (NT). In all treatments, plowing, compared with NT, decreased bulk density by 0.17 to 0.28 Mg m−3, increased total porosity from 0.03 to 0.10 m3 m−3, increased macroporosity by 0.05 to 0.13 m3 m−3, and decreased microporosity by 0.03 to 0.05 m3 m−3. Wheel traffic increased bulk density 0.14 to 0.18 Mg m−3 in the plowed soils but only 0.04 Mg m−3 in the NT soil. Soil surface P, K, and organic C (OC) were redistributed in the surface 200 mm by plowing, but plowing did not eliminate stratification of chemical properties in the surface 50 mm. The NTP87 treatment enhanced mineralization of N over both CT and NT by 9.8 to 18.4 g N m−3 in the surface 50 mm in 1987. Residual effects were evident 1 yr after plowing. However, 4 to 5 yr after plowing, most soil properties had returned to levels of NT, although reestablishment of C and N in the surface remained lower than NT.

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