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10436. Haines, P.J. and N.C. Uren. 1990. Effects of conservation tillage farming on soil microbial biomass, organic matter and earthworm populations, in northeastern Victoria.. Austral. J. Expt. Agric. 30:365-371.
Wheat was grown continuously for 7 years with conventional tillage and direct drilling (no-till). There was a significant gradient of organic matter under no-till. In the surface 2.5 cm, biomass C and N, and N mineralization were 35, 30, and 62% greater, respectively, than under conventional tillage. No-till did not significantly increase soil organic C or N. Of the estimated 7.8 t/ha of C added to the soil from crop residues, 4% was retained in the top 7.5 cm at the time of sampling. Microbial biomass varied considerably with season. The biomass of earthworms in the top 10 cm under no-till was more than twice that of conventional tillage, while total worm numbers increased significantly when wheat residue was retained versus burned.