By Rakesh Awale (OSU) and Prakriti Bista (OSU)
In the inland Pacific Northwest (iPNW), intensive tillage and poor residue management practices have led to the depletion of soil organic matter, crumbled soil structure, increased soil erosion, reduced soil fertility and soil biological diversity, and now threaten long-term sustainability of dryland wheat farming. Conservation tillage systems, on the other hand, enhance sustainability of dryland agriculture by reducing erosion, building soil organic matter, and improving soil health. This webinar discusses sustainability challenges posed by conventional tillage; different conservation tillage approaches to overcome these challenges, and elucidates tillage and residue management effects on soil health in dryland farming. Soil health is assessed by evaluating the soil’s ability to perform desired ecosystem functions and involves measuring soil physical, chemical, and biological indicators in response to management. Sustained research and extension activities highlight that reduced soil disturbance and crop residue retention can improve soil health in dryland farming in iPNW.