Study Explores Long-Term Soil Health Impacts of Organic Management

Cornell University researchers have published a study that examined how organic farming practices affected soil health in the long term. The study also explored how different aspects of soil health affected crop productivity. For example, it found that measuring soil invertebrate populations can indicate soil health. The study compared four cropping systems following 12 years of organic management and found that past nutrient inputs, how much soils had been disturbed, weed management, and the preceding crop all produced lasting productivity effects. In particular, the study found that low microbial activity and reduced soil aggregate stability can limit crop productivity even when soil nutrients are at acceptable levels.