Does strategic tillage undo long term improvement in soils under no-till?
Fifteen on-farm experiments were undertaken to resolve contradictions and explore key factors to be considered in decisions to implement strategic tillage (ST) in no-till (NT). ST generally reduced weed populations and improved productivity in the first year with no impact in subsequent years. Available phosphorus (P), total organic carbon (OC) and microbial activity were mostly not impacted. ST resulted in reduced plant available water in the short term. Tillage 3-5 months before sowing reduces this risk with 90-95% probability of rain. Intense rainfall after ST poses a risk of runoff and nutrient loss. ST can be utilised as an option to manage constraints of NT without impacting on long term soil health benefits.