1st Edition

Sustainable Soils The Place of Organic Matter in Sustaining Soils and Their Productivity

By Benjamin Wolf, George Snyder Copyright 2003
    372 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Find the right balance of organic matter, tillage, and chemical additives to increase the quality and quantity of crops!

    This book shows the importance of organic matter in maintaining crop production. The addition of organic matter to soil is covered in great detail. This book is unique in that it draws on practical farming operations to illustrate many of the points discussed. The senior author has had almost 60 years of experience in solving production problems—many of which have been related to insufficient organic matter.

    In addition, Sustainable Soils: The Place of Organic Matter in Sustaining Soils and Their Productivity stresses the necessity of combining the addition of organic matter with reduced tillage and added chemicals. Photographs, tables, and figures, as well as appendixes containing common and botanical names of plants, symbols and abbreviations found in the text, and useful conversion factors and data help bring the information into focus quickly and efficiently. An extensive bibliography points the way to other useful material on this subject.

    Sustainable Soils discusses:

    • what materials can be added
    • techniques for proper handling of organic matter
    • how much is enough (and how much is too much!)
    • the nutritive value of various forms of organic matter
    • the benefits that can be expected from properly handling and adding organic matter to soil
    From the Editors: “Sustainable agriculture is not possible without a sustainable soil science, which in turn is largely dependent on organic matter. It is necessary to return large amounts of organic matter to the soil in order to maintain satisfactory crop production. It can be derived from crop residues, cover crops, sods, or various wastes, such as manures, sludges, and composts. This book details the benefits of various forms, and how each should be handled for maximum returns.”

    • Foreword
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgments
    • Chapter 1. Intensive Agriculture and Food Production
    • Problems with Intensive Agriculture
    • Correcting Problems Associated with Intensive Agriculture
    • Alternative Agriculture
    • Sustainable Agriculture
    • Sustainable Soil Science
    • Increasing Organic Matter, Sustainable Agriculture, and the Need for Inputs
    • Chapter 2. Basic Concepts of Organic Matter
    • Decomposition of Organic Matter
    • SOM and Humus
    • Environmental Conditions Affecting Decomposition
    • Extent of Decomposition
    • Losses of SOM and Crop Yields
    • Increasing Soil Organic Matter
    • Negative Aspects of Organic Matter Additions
    • Chapter 3. Organic Matter As a Source of Nutrients
    • Organic Matter and Nutrient Supply
    • Nutrients Released from Organic Matter
    • Nutrient Release
    • Indirect Effects of Organic Matter on Nutrient Availability
    • Accounting for Nutrients in Organic Matter
    • Chapter 4. Physical Qualities
    • Soil Structure
    • Porosity
    • Bulk Density
    • Compaction
    • Infiltration and Percolation
    • Aggregate Stability
    • Moisture-Holding Capacity
    • Erosion
    • Chapter 5. Biological Effects of Organic Matter
    • Soil Organisms and Their Functions
    • Processes Vital to Soil Health
    • Controlling Pests by Harnessing Soil Organisms and Organic Matter
    • Chapter 6. Adding Organic Matter
    • Growing Organic Matter in Place
    • Plant Residues
    • Chapter 7. Adding Organic Matter Not Grown in Place
    • Manure
    • Compost
    • Loamless Composts
    • Sewage Effluents and Biosolids
    • Peats
    • High-Analysis Animal and Other Wastes
    • Chapter 8. Placement of Organic Matter
    • Incorporating OM
    • Plastic Mulch
    • Natural Organic Mulches
    • Types of Natural Organic Mulch
    • Deleterious Effects of Organic Mulches
    • Providing Protection from Pests by Using Organic Mulches
    • Chapter 9. Conservation Tillage
    • Increasing Soil Organic Matter
    • Other Benefits of Reduced Tillage
    • Reduction in Costs
    • No-Tillage
    • Reduced Tillage
    • Pest Problems with Conservation Tillage
    • Corrective Measures
    • Chapter 10. Changes Brought About by Conservation Tillage
    • Cultural Methods
    • Fertility Changes
    • Pests
    • Plant Diseases
    • Nematodes
    • Weeds
    • Miscellaneous Pests
    • Chapter 11. Putting It All Together: Combining Organic Matter Additions with Conservation Tillage
    • Basic Approaches
    • Adding Organic Matter
    • Supplying Needed Nutrients
    • Controlling Pests
    • Adding Water
    • Equipment for Conservation Tillage
    • Summary
    • Appendix 1. Common and Botanical Names of Plants
    • Appendix 2. Abbreviations and Symbols Used in This Book
    • Appendix 3. Useful Conversion Factors and Data
    • Bibliography
    • Index
    • Reference Notes Included


    Benjamin Wolf, George Snyder