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Effect of Tillage and Cropping Frequency on Sustainable Agriculture in the Brown Soil Zone.

McConkey, B.G., Campbell, C.A., Zentner, R.P., Peru, M., and VandenBygaart, A.J. (2012). "Effect of Tillage and Cropping Frequency on Sustainable Agriculture in the Brown Soil Zone.", Prairie Soils and Crops, 5, pp. 51-58.

Abstract

In the semiarid Canadian prairies where water availability is the main constraint to crop production, a 2-yr rotation of summerfallow-spring wheat (F-W), with extensive use of mechanical tillage (CT), was the predominant cropping system used for many decades. To enhance net returns and reduce soil degradation, producers have increased cropping frequency and reduced tillage [using minimum- or no-tillage (MT or NT)]. A study was initiated in 1981 on fine sandy loam, silt loam and clay soils to assess the influence of cropping frequency and tillage management on sustainable production. The results showed no effect of tillage on grain yield, crop residue production, grain protein, net returns, energy use efficiency, soil quality, or C sequestration for the F-W system. There has been a steady increase in soil C due to the change to Cont W (CT) and there was a further increase in SOC from adopting NT in the Cont W system.

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