CONSERVATION TILLAGE methods in organic agriculture

Die erste Bodenbearbeitung der gesamten Versuchsfläche erfolgt am 3. August 2009 mit dem Grubber "Centaur" von Amazone auf 5-7 cm Arbeitstiefe.

The major causes of soil degradation worldwide are the impacts of modern agriculture practices, although farming depends completely on soil. The protection and development of soil fertility have been one main objective for the founding of the organic agriculture movement. Since this time the discussion about the suitable tillage system for organic farming is ongoing. Conservation tillage systems are considered unsuitable due to insufficient weed control in plough less systems. Compared to organic agriculture, the conservationtillage methods are more and more adapted in conventional agriculture systems and have a wide spread lobby. Especially the soil protection against erosion problems, the less energy use and the development of humus in these tillage systems give strong arguments in terms of environmental issues. If the organic agriculture would like to defend its claim of an environmental and soil protective agriculture system the research has to deal with the challenges of conservation tillage.With the help of four methods (research on literature, field experiment, survey and expert interview) the different aspects of conservation tillage have been recorded to evaluate the constraints and possibilities of this tillage system in organic agriculture. In the literature part the development of the tillage systems and the current state of research of conservation tillage in organic agriculture are shown. The emphasis was on the results of nine long term field experiments which compared different tillage machinery under organic conditions. In a three years field experiment at the research farm oft he University of Kassel a conservation tillage system with two different tillage depths (5-7 cm and 13-15 cm) have been compared with the plough system (25 cm), before the seeding of the intercrop oil radish.

in cooperation with Amazone and  Deutschen Bundeststiftung Umwelt

responsible : Dr. Birgit Wilhelm

publication : Konservierende Bodenbearbeitung im Ökolandbau - Analyse einer Verfahrenstechnik im Kontext der Bodenfruchtbarkeit

doctoral degree : Conservation tillage in organic farming - Analysis of an engineering process  in the context of soil fertility online publication at KOBRA