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Comparison of Soil Physical Properties in Conventional and Organic Farming Apple Orchards

  • Chung, Jong-Bae
  • Published : 2007.12.31

Abstract

Soil physical properties in organic farming apple orchard were evaluated in relation to conventional farming to better understand the effects of organic farming system on soil quality. Two adjacent apple orchards, matched by soil type, were chosen to ensure the same pedological conditions except management system. Soil samples were collected from middle of two adjacent trees along the tree line at two depths of 5-20 and 20-35 cm in September 2006. Contents of organic matter in organic farming soil were twice as much as those found in soil of conventional farming. The higher level of organic matter in organic farming soil was reflected through a consequent trend in improved soil physical properties. Organic farming produced greater aggregation in >2 mm size and increased aggregate stability. Bulk density was lower by 13% and hence porosity was higher in soils of organic farming as compared with conventional farming. Water holding capacity was significantly greater with organic farming by >17% over conventional farming. The capacity of organic farming to improve soil physical properties can be contributed to the regular application of relatively large amount of organic materials and the sustainable ground-cover managements, mulching with compost and cover crop cultivation.

Keywords

apple orchard;organic farming;organic matter;soil physical property;soil quality

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