Soil functions are manifold and range from regulations of biogeochemical and hydrological cycles to habitat functions for soil life and the provision of agricultural commodities. On-farm studies are needed to better understand how soil management and cropping systems affect soils and which management options that improve soil functions. In one project, we quantified a range of soil chemical, physical and biological properties in 60 Swiss fields representing three different management systems (20 fields per system): conventional tillage, organic farming, and no-till. Initial results show that both cropping and management system as well as intrinsic soil attributes such as soil texture have significant impacts on soil functions. In another project, we compare the effect of high and low diversity cropping systems on soil health on 20 farms (10 farms with high and 10 farms with low diversity) in Southern Sweden.
Team: Tino Colombi, Hanna Williams, Thomas Keller
Collaborators: Marcel van der Heijden, Sam Banerjee, Lucie Büchi, Jochen Mayer, Juliane Hirte, Agroscope, Switzerland; Johan Six, ETH Zürich, Switzerland; Raphaël Charles, FiBL, Switzerland.
Publications: Colombi et al., 2019, SOIL, 5; Banerjee et al., 2019, ISME Journal, 13; Büchi et al., 2019, European Journal of Agronomy, 109; Williams et al., 2020, Geoderma, 360, Etana et al., 2020, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B – Soil & Plant Science, 70
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation; The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA)