Agronomy Library > Soil Conservation

Soil Quality Changes in No-till Affect Crop Nutrition
Author: Bruce Barker, Top Crop Manger
Date Created: April 16, 2007
Last Reviewed: April 16, 2007

Switching from conventional tillage programs over to direct seeding and no-till changes soil quality and subsequent potential nutrient supplying power. One of the most important changes comes with an increase in soil organic matter.

“Generally, over a period of years, there will be an increase in soil organic matter, but that comes along with other improvements in soil quality like better soil tilth,” says Ross McKenzie, agronomy research scientist with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) at Lethbridge. 

By eliminating tillage, crop residues are left on the soil surface which reduce contact with the soil organisms that decompose residues. In addition, less oxygen is added to the soil and since many soil organisms need oxygen to decompose residue, decomposition occurs at a slower rate. As a result, crop residue stays in its organic form longer, resulting in an increase in soil organic matter.

click here to read the full article on the Top Crop Manager website