1. the mechanical manipulation of the soil

1. Introduction Much research has been done on agriculture production systems. One suchsystem is the conventional tillage system. This system is the mechanicalmanipulation of the soil by digging and turning of the soil to prepare forplanting. This views the soil as an infinite natural resource.  Much research has proven that long termtilling of the soil reduces the organic carbon content of the soil (SOCc). The reduction of SOCc inconventionally tilled soil could be explained by the excessive removal ofbiomass after harvest and higher decomposition rate due to increased microbialactivity at the soil surface (R Moussadek, R Mrabet, R Dahan, A Zouahri, M El Mourid, and E Van Ranst). There areenvironmental and economic problems caused by tilling.

Tilled soil is moreaerated causing an increase in soil organisms that feed on the organic matter. Tillage mixes oxygen into the soil and increases theoxidization of organic matter resulting in the release of carbon dioxide, a gaslinked to global warming(Better soils, better yield). Tilling degrades the soilstructure and makes it prone to erosion. The fast growing worldpopulation demands that we find new ways of fulfilling the increasing fooddemand. To achieve this, food security concerns will have to be addressedthrough sustainable ways of agricultural production. This paper aims tohighlight the environmental and economic problems caused by tillage.

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 2. Soil properties          3. Environmental effects of tillage Intensive tillageleads to soil erosion. Soil erosion is described as the detachment and movementof soil particles from point of origination through the action of water andwind. Wind erosion is the more visible, though water erosion is the mostdevastating. The loss of natural nutrients and possiblefertilizers directly affect crop emergence, and growth. Seeds can be disturbed or removedand pesticides can be carried off.

This means fewer nutrients for plants leading to reduced yields. The soilquality, structure, stability, and texture are also affected, which inturn affect the holding capacity ofthe soil referred to water infiltration rate. This is due to the aggregate break down and adecrease in soil organic matter. Soil water erosion has great environmentalimplications as eroded soils caninhibit the growth of seeds, bury seedlings, contribute to road damage, and even contaminate water sources.


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