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A short-term comparison of organic v. conventional agriculture in a silty loam soil using two organic amendments

AuthorsHerencia, Juan F.; Ruiz Porras, J. C.; Melero Sánchez, Sebastiana ; García Galavís, P. A.; Maqueda Porras, Celia
Issue Date2008
PublisherCambridge University Press
CitationJournal of Agricultural Science 146(6): 677-687 (2008)
AbstractThe transition from conventional to organic farming is accompanied by changes in soil chemical properties and processes that could affect soil fertility. The organic system is very complex and the present work carries out a short-term comparison of the effects of organic and conventional agriculture on the chemical properties of a silty loam soil (Xerofluvent) located in the Guadalquivir River Valley, Seville, Spain, through a succession of five crop cycles over a 3-year period. Crop rotation and varieties were compared in a conventional system using inorganic fertilizer and two organic systems using either plant compost or manure. At the end of the study, organic farming management resulted in higher soil organic carbon (OC), N and available P, K, Fe and Zn. The available Mn and especially Cu values did not show significant differences. In general, treatment with manure resulted in more rapid increases in soil nutrient values than did plant compost, which had an effect on several crop cycles later. The present study demonstrated that the use of organic composts results in an increase in OC and the storage of nutrients, which can provide long-term fertility benefits. Nevertheless, at least 2-3 years of organic management are necessary, depending on compost characteristics, to observe significant differences. Average crop yields were 23% lower in organic crops. Nevertheless, only two crops showed statistically significant differences.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1017/S0021859608008071
issn: 0021-8596
e-issn: 1469-5146
Appears in Collections:(IRNAS) Artículos
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