Long-Term Cropping System Effects on Soil Properties and on a Soil Quality Index

Intensive row-crop production can lead to soil degradation over time if insufficient biomass return, intensive tillage, or excessive erosion lead to depletion of soil organic C. Soil quality may be improved by incorporating forage crops or grazing into the rotation, adding manure or other organic sources, and shifting to minimum tillage. We evaluated a range of physical, chemical, and microbial soil properties from six cropping systems in the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial (WICST) after 18 years of continuous treatments.

Authors: Bill Jokela1, Josh Posner, and Janet Hedtcke