Monday, October 10, 2016

No-Till Agriculture Results in Greater Soil Microbe Biomass

Image by: Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,

A recent study by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences did a meta-data analysis of 62 studies across the world and found that there was greater soil microbe biomass in no-till agricultural systems as compared to conventional tillage agricultural systems.  Soil microbes are important because they breakdown plant biomass and release important nutrients back into the soil for absorption by other plants.  During 2010-11 in the U.S., about 23% land growing corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat was on a farm where no-till/strip-till was used on every acre and about 56% had at least some of their land in no-till/strip-till.  Tillage practices can vary greatly by region and soil type.