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

Effects of soil tillage

Excessively high work intensities did not lead to better results, not even with regard to soil loosening. In terms of the stability of the loosened soil structure, however, there are differences between the various implements. The increase of nitrate concentration due to tillage can be reduced significantly by planting appropriate green covers. Against the expectations, the least intensive tillage did not lead to the highest mineralisation. For this reason, the differences between the systems have to be considered as being insignificant. From a microbiological point of view, the least intensive tillage methods are sufficient. As opposed to repeated soil tillage, only ploughing led to a significant decrease of the earthworm population.

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