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Response of organic matter to reduced tillage and animal manure in a temperate loamy soil

Viaud, V., Angers, D.A., Parnaudeau, V., Morvan, T., Aubry, S.M. (2011). Response of organic matter to reduced tillage and animal manure in a temperate loamy soil, 27(1), 84-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2010.00314.x

Abstract

The impacts of tillage and organic fertilization on soil organic matter (SOM) are highly variable and still unpredictable, and their interactions need to be investigated under various soil, climate and cropping system conditions. Our work examined the effect of reduced tillage and animal manure on SOM stocks and quality in the 0-40cm layer of a loamy soil under mixed cropping system and humid temperate climate. The soil organic carbon (SOC) and N stocks, particulate organic matter (POM), and C and N mineralization potential (301days at 15°C) were measured in a 8-yr-old split-plot field trial, including three tillage treatments [mouldboard ploughing (MP), shallow tillage (ST), no tillage (NT)] and two fertilization treatments [mineral (M), poultry manure 2.2t/ha/yr C (O)]. No statistically significant interactive effects of tillage and fertilization were measured except on C mineralization. NT and ST showed greater SOC stocks (41.2 and 39.7t/ha C) than MP (37.1t/ha C) in the 0-15cm increment, while no statistical differences were observed at a greater depth. N stocks exhibited similar distribution patterns with regard to tillage effect. Animal manure, applied at a rate representative of typical field application rates, had a smaller impact on SOC and N stocks than tillage. The mean SOC and N stocks were higher under O than M, but the differences were statistically significant only in the 0-5cm increment. MP showed lower C-POM stocks than NT and ST in the 0-5cm increment, whereas greater C-POM stocks were measured under MP than under NT or under ST in the 20-25cm increment. Organic fertilization had no impact on C-POM or N-POM stocks. In the 0-25cm increment, NT showed a lower C and N mineralization potential than MP. Our work shows that the sensitivity of SOM to reduced tillage for the whole soil profile can be relatively small in a loamy soil, under humid-temperate climate. However, POM was particularly sensitive to the differential effects of tillage practices with depth, and indicative of differentiation in total SOM distribution in the soil profile. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Society of Soil Science.

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