Deep plowing

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Deep plowing used in an attempt to restore fertility to flood-damaged cropland in Missouri, USA.
Detail of a plough used for deep plowing, Ekern/Bad Zwischenahn, Germany.

Deep plowing is a plowing to a depth greater than 50 cm (20 in) as compared to ordinary plowing which rarely exceeds 20 cm (8 in).[1] The purpose of deep plowing is to modify the soil water retention characteristics over the long term.[1] In one long-term test, lasting 35 years, the mean annual grain yield was 2,800 lbs per acre (3,138 kg per ha) with deep plowing, which was 10% greater than the 2,550 lbs per acre (2,858 kg per ha) yield in unplowed plots.[1]

Under certain conditions, it is recommended to use deep plowing in preparing the soil for planting new vineyards.[2]

There is a movement away from plowing altogether and from deep plowing in particular.[3] The theory is that this will stop the loss of topsoil, increase the organic content of soil and reduce runoff of fertilizer and pesticides into rivers.[3] Another part of the no-plowing theory is that ground moisture would be conserved; but this was shown to be incorrect by a 35-year study.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c d Baumhardt, R.L.; Jones, O.; Schwartz, R.C. (2008). "Long term effects of profile-modifying deep plowing on soil properties and crop yield". Soil Science Society of America Journal. Soil Science Society of America. 72: 677–682. doi:10.2136/sssaj2007.0122. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ Winkler, A. J. (1974). General Viticulture: Second Revised Edition. University of California Press. p. 242. ISBN 9780520025912. 
  3. ^ a b "Deep Plowing Is Halted By Many to Protect Soil". The New York Times.