A comparison of soil properties in conventionally-farmed, alternatively-farmed, and never-cultivated soils
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The study compared biological, chemical, and physical properties in three silt loam soils in DeKalb County: conventionally-farmed, alternatively-farmed, and never- cultivated soils. The objective was to assess the effects of agriculture on native soil, and to ask whether there were any differences in soil properties between conventional and alternative agricultural practices. The study found significant differences in soil properties between the never-cultivated soil and the two cultivated soils, and no significant differences between the conventionally- and alternatively-farmed soils. The lack of differences between the two types of management systems was the most interesting result of the study. The study tested levels of soil properties present at sampling time (fall, 1992). A valuable direction for future research would be estimation of the nutrient cycling efficiency of these management systems, i.e., the recycling and retention of energy and nutrients within the systems over time. This could be accomplished by box model calculations and would supplement the picture of standing stock values of soil properties reported by this study.