SNEAK PEEK: A small amount of tillage isn’t disastrous for soil quality or yields

Top Crop Manager
August 24, 2017
By Top Crop Manager
Research shows occasional tillage to clean up ruts is more beneficial than harmful.
Research shows occasional tillage to clean up ruts is more beneficial than harmful. Photo courtesy of Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta.
Jeff Schoenau, a soil scientist with the University of Saskatchewan was involved in a research study conducted in the mid-2000s that compared four tillage treatments that were imposed on no-till fields (longer than 10 years) at Rosthern (Black soil), Tisdale (Gray soil) and Central Butte (Brown soil), Sask.

The minimum-till treatment was a single cultivation with a chisel plow, with sweeps in the spring prior to seeding. Conventional tillage was a fall and spring cultivation. A maximum tillage treatment included a fall and spring cultivation plus a spring tandem discing. These tillage treatments were compared to the standard no-till control treatment.

As it turns out, total and particulate soil organic carbon, soil pH, and soil aggregation were not affected by the tillage operations....

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