Effect of Organic Production on Soil Structure

University of Novi Sad, Department of Field and Vegetable Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia


NESIC, Lj., M. BELIC, L. SAVIN, V. CIRIC, M. STEFANOVCIC and M. MANOJLOVIC, 2014. Effect of organic production on soil structure. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 20: 1168-1174


Organic agriculture is a production system, which avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and additives and relies on natural principles that contribute to the growth, development, and health of plants. Its aim is safe production of quality produce and maintenance and improvement of the sanitary condition and quality of soil and the environment. Soil structure is most important among the physical soil properties due to its large impact on the water, air and thermal status, chemical and biological properties of the soil, soil tilth and the growth of plant roots. It is an indicator of soil fertility and productivity. The objective of this study was to determine the contribution of organic agriculture to soil structure improvement by comparing soil structure indicators from organic farms and conventionally tilled production plots. The study was conducted in Vojvodina Province, Serbia. Organic farms in 8 locations (Kelebija, Orom, Pančevo, Crepaja, Bajmok, Ljutovo, Totovo Selo, and Kisač) were compared against Rimski Šančevi experiment station in which the conventional soil tillage system has been employed for several decades. Soil samples were collected from soil depth of 0-30 cm. The conventionally tilled soils had a better structure than the soils in organic agriculture. Their structure coefficients were Ks = 5.50 and Ks = 2.60, respectively. Soil aggregate stability was better in organic farms than with conventional tillage, MWD = 0.95 and MWD = 0.73, respectively. OM content was higher in all classes of stable aggregates in the organic farms compared with the conventional tillage system. The organic agriculture deteriorated the distribution of soil structural aggregates, improved soil aggregate stability, and increased the soil OM content.

Key words: organic agriculture, soil structure, aggregate size distribution, aggregate stability, soil organic carbon
Abbreviations: OM – organic matter, MWD – mean weight diameter

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