Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



Mikha MM, Hergert GW, Qiao X, Maharjan B. Soil chemical properties after 12 years of tillage and crop rotation. Agronomy Journal. 2020;112:4395–4406.


U.S. gov't work


Crop rotation in combinationwith tillage can improve productivity, enhance economical return, and reduce soil erosion. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of moldboard plow (MP), strip tillage (ST), no-tillage (NT), and crop rotations on: (1) crop yield; (2) soil chemical properties; and (3) particulate organic matter (POM). The study was initiated in 2007 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center near Scottsbluff, NE. Crops in rotation were corn (C; Zea mays L.) and dry bean (DB; Phaseolus vulgaris L.) organized in a 3-yr rotation (C–DB–C) and a 4-yr rotation with the addition of sugar beet (SB; Beta vulgaris L.) (C–DB–C–SB) such that each phase of the rotation was present each year. Soil samples collected from the surface 20 cm in the spring of 2019 were analyzed for POM and soil chemical properties. Crop yields were influenced by the previous crop, but not by tillage, except for sugar beet. The 2018 corn yield following dry bean exhibited the highest yield (15.6 Mg ha1) compared with corn following corn or sugar beet. Soil chemical studiedwere not influenced by tillage or crop rotation.Corn in rotation enhanced soil organic matter (SOM) by 22% and soil organic carbon (SOC) by 28% in corn in the 3-yr rotation compared with corn in the 4-yr rotation. Surface soil POM was 32% higher with NT than MP and 17% higher in ST than MP. Alternative management strategies need to be implemented to maintain land sustainability in rotation with sugar beet and dry bean.