Soil microbial properties under permanent grass, conventional tillage, and no-till management in South Dakota
This paper reports on a study comparing no-till and conventional tillage (chisel and disk) effects on microbial aspects of soil quality, with permanent grassland as the control high quality soil. For most factors, both cropped treatments were similar to each other, but significantly lower quality than permanent grass plots. No-till root segments had slightly greater observed mycorrhizal fungi colonization than conventional till (63% versus 55%; 76% in permanent grass). No-till plots had significantly greater alkaline phosphatase activity and C mineralized in 12 days than conventionally tilled plots. The authors suggest that no-till may allow mineralizable C to build up by reducing oxidation of crop residues. The lack of significant differences between no-till and "conventional" tillage possibly attributable to small difference in tillage intensity between no-till and chisel plowing (as compared to moldboard plowing).