Tillage Alternatives

Tillage has long been used to incorporate crop residues, prepare a seedbed, control weeds, and loosen the soil. However, in accomplishing these goals, tillage also reduces soil organic matter, disrupts soil structure, and leaves the soil surface prone to wind and water erosion. Systems that reduce or even eliminate tillage, while maintaining yields, have been developed for some crops and regions. These systems have the potential to build soil quality and reduce erosion.

Featured Tillage Alternatives Publications

  • Management to Reduce N2O Emissions in Organic Vegetable Production Systems

    Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 27, 2014. The second of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

    This is the focus of our current research. How do different organic vegetable production systems affect N2O emissions, and how do other outcomes of those systems affect their potential for adoption?

    • Systems include full tillage with high-carbon amendment (compost), full tillage with low carbon amendment (broiler litter), pasture-vegetable rotation, and reduced tillage cover crop mulch.
    • Measurements include N2O and CO2 emissions, soil N, microbial ecology focused on denitrification organisms, crop yield, and soil quality. Measurements are focused on key times during the season, including amendment application and tillage, irrigation, and freeze-thaw.

    Intended audience is other researchers, and interested extension faculty and farmers.

  • Why the Concern about Nitrous Oxide Emissions?

    Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 25, 2014. The first of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

    Topics for this webinar include:

    • Source and properties of N2O as a greenhouse gas, its relative contribution to global
    • warming, and the role of agriculture in N2O emissions
    • Review of the nitrogen cycle and the production of N2O
    • The relationship between organic practices and N2O production
    • How we measure N2O emissions

    Intended audience is extension faculty and farmers who want a big picture perspective on why we’re interested in nitrous oxide emissions.

  • Carbon storage and nitrous oxide emissions of cropping systems in eastern Washington: A simulation study

    Stöckle, C., S. Higgins, A. Kemanian, R. Nelson, D. Huggins, J. Marcos, and H. Collins. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 2012 67(5):365-377; doi:10.2489/jswc.67.5.365.

  • Soil carbon sequestration in the dryland cropping region of the Pacific Northwest

    Brown, T.T., and D.R. Huggins. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 2012 67(5):406-415; doi:10.2489/jswc.67.5.406.

  • Reduced Tillage on Organic Farms Virtual Field Day

    WSU researchers and extension educators are researching different methods for reducing tillage in organic vegetable production. This video demonstrates termination of barley and vetch cover crops with a roller/crimper and flail mower.

  • The Second Solution: Agriculture’s Role – video featuring eastern Washington farmer John Aeschliman

    The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative aims to galvanize farmers, foresters, community leaders, and thinkers to demonstrate the essential role that natural systems can play in ensuring long-term climate stability. The Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is part of this collaboration with several of the Northwest’s leading conservation organizations who see this effort as a logical extension of our region’s rich natural resource heritage and our history of groundbreaking innovation and stewardship.

  • High Residue Farming under Irrigation

    Andy McGuire, Agricultural Systems Educator WSU Extension. Program website.

  • The Effects of Reducing Tillage on Pest Management

    Andy McGuire, WSU Extension. 2007. An increasing number of farmers in the Columbia Basin are adapting reduced tillage systems from other regions to our conditions and crops. This paper will examine the general effects of reducing tillage on the management of weeds, insects, and diseases. Because these systems have been developed mainly in the Midwest and Canada, much of the information presented here is for the conditions and crops (mainly corn and wheat) in those regions. Experience will show what holds true under our conditions.

Additional Tillage Alternatives Publications

Browse Publications Library for more

 

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