Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Soil structure of an integrated, a conventional and a low input farming system

The objective of the long-term project of Burgrain, on a mixed farm near Lucerne (Switzerand), is to compare integrated, conventional and low input farming systems taking agronomical, economical and ecological characteristics into consideration. Since 1992 soil tilth has been characterized every year by spade diagnostics and measurements of aggregate stability. The quality of the soil structure was mainly influenced by cultivation practices and soil moisture conditions at the time of cultivation, whereas aggregate stability depended mostly on the content of clay and organic matter. Because the soil cultivation practices only differed little among the three farming systems, no clear effects of the farming systems on soil structure were evident after seven years.

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