Intensive agricultural practices are leading to loss of soil fertility and overexploitation of natural resources which cause nutrients imbalance and further impair ecosystem services. Organic farming (OF), also coupled with minimum tillage and crop rotations, represents one of the strategies to limit this process and maintain soil functions. In a two-year field trial, organic farming practices, including a set of fertilizations combined with crop rotations and association with nitrogen fixing cover crops, were compared. The aim of this research was to assess in the short-term the effects on soil organic carbon, aggregate stability, and soil enzymes activities of using a combination of promising management practices in the delta region of the Po river. Results did not show improvements in organic carbon content and soil aggregate stability. Conversely, enzymatic activities were always significantly higher in OF treatments than the conventional one. Crop rotation and associated legumes were effective in enhancing β-glucosidase and P fixation through phosphatases activities. The present work suggests that an effective choice of crop species coupled with legumes can enhance biological activity re-starting main mechanisms of microbial development even without a contemporary increase of organic matter.

Influence of Tillage and Crop Rotations in Organic and Conventional Farming Systems on Soil Organic Matter, Bulk Density and Enzymatic Activities in a Short-Term Field Experiment

Marco Pittarello;Nicola Dal Ferro;Francesco Morari;Paolo Carletti
2021

Abstract

Intensive agricultural practices are leading to loss of soil fertility and overexploitation of natural resources which cause nutrients imbalance and further impair ecosystem services. Organic farming (OF), also coupled with minimum tillage and crop rotations, represents one of the strategies to limit this process and maintain soil functions. In a two-year field trial, organic farming practices, including a set of fertilizations combined with crop rotations and association with nitrogen fixing cover crops, were compared. The aim of this research was to assess in the short-term the effects on soil organic carbon, aggregate stability, and soil enzymes activities of using a combination of promising management practices in the delta region of the Po river. Results did not show improvements in organic carbon content and soil aggregate stability. Conversely, enzymatic activities were always significantly higher in OF treatments than the conventional one. Crop rotation and associated legumes were effective in enhancing β-glucosidase and P fixation through phosphatases activities. The present work suggests that an effective choice of crop species coupled with legumes can enhance biological activity re-starting main mechanisms of microbial development even without a contemporary increase of organic matter.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3388941
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