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Individual study: Reduced tillage as an alternative to no-tillage under Mediterranean conditions: A case study

Published source details

López-Garrido R., Madejón E., León-Camacho M., Girón I., Moreno F. & Murillo J.M. (2014) Reduced tillage as an alternative to no-tillage under Mediterranean conditions: A case study. Soil & Tillage Research, 140, 40-47


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Water: Use no tillage instead of reduced tillage Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found more water in soils with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage. Water availability: More water was found in soils with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage, in one of three comparisons (0–5 cm depth, in early May 2013: 19.1% vs 9.15% soil moisture). Methods: No tillage or reduced tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A chisel plough (25 cm depth), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil moisture was measured in May 2013 (0–5 cm depth, time-domain-reflectrometry probes) and early June (0–10 cm depth, gravimetric).

 

Water: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found more water in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of three comparisons. Water availability: More water was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of three comparisons (0–5 cm depth, in early May 2013: 19.1 vs 7.42% soil moisture). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disk harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil moisture was measured in May 2013 (0–5 cm depth, time-domain-reflectrometry probes) and early June (0–10 cm depth, gravimetric).

 

Crop production: Use no tillage instead of reduced tillage Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found lower crop yields and differences in crop quality in plots with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage, in some comparisons. Crop yield: Lower crop yields were found in plots with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage, in two of five comparisons (sunflower seeds in 2013: 105 vs 3,839 kg/ha; wheat grain in 2012: 2,940 vs 3,985 kg/ha). Crop quality: Less oil, more zinc, more saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid, and less monounsaturated fatty acid were found in sunflower seeds in plots with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage (34% vs 50% oil; see publication for other results). Methods: No tillage or reduced tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A chisel plough (25 cm depth), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Sunflowers were sown in May 2013 (three months later than usual) and harvested in September. Yield and quality were measured in 16 sunflower heads/plot.

 

Water: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found similar amounts of water in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage. Water availability: Similar amounts of water were found in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage (7.23–13.4 vs 7.11–14.0% soil moisture). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disc harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A chisel plough (25 cm depth, once/year), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil moisture was measured in May 2013 (0–5 cm depth, time-domain-reflectrometry probes) and early June (0–10 cm depth, gravimetric).

 

Soil: Use no tillage instead of reduced tillage Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found more organic matter (in one of three comparisons), but found similar amounts of nutrients, in soils with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage. Organic matter: More organic carbon was found in soils with no tillage, compared to reduced tillage, at one of three depths (0–5 cm: 11 vs 9 g C/kg soil). Nutrients: Similar amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium were found in soils with no tillage or reduced tillage (0.76–1.06 vs 0.92–0.99 g N/kg soil; 14.5–25.6 vs 17.8–25.7 g phosphorus/kg soil; 290–508 vs 307–419 g potassium/kg soil). Methods: No tillage or reduced tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A chisel plough (25 cm depth), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in October 2012 (0–25 cm depth).

 

Crop production: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found lower crop yields, and differences in crop quality, in plots with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Crop yield: Lower crop yields were found in plots with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in two of five comparisons (sunflower seeds in 2013: 105 vs 3,520 kg/ha; wheat grain in 2012: 2,940 vs 3,860 kg/ha). Crop quality: Less oil, less of nine nutrients, more saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid, and less polyunsaturated fatty acid were found in sunflower seeds in plots with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage (34% vs 48% oil; see publication for other results). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disk harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Sunflowers were sown in May 2013 (three months later than usual) and harvested in September. Yield and quality were measured in 16 sunflower heads/plot.

 

Crop production: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found similar crop yields, but differences in crop quality, in plots with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Crop yield: Similar crop yields were found in plots with reduced tillage or conventional tillage (data reported for multiple crops and years). Crop quality: More oil, more of five nutrients, more monounsaturated fatty acid, and less polyunsaturated fatty acid were found in sunflower seeds in plots with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage (49.6 vs 48.0% oil). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disc harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A chisel plough (25 cm depth, once/year), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Sunflowers were sown in May 2013 (three months later than usual) and harvested in September. Yield and quality were measured in 16 sunflower heads/plot.

 

Soil: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found more organic matter and more nitrogen in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in some comparisons. Organic matter: More organic carbon was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, at one of three depths (0–5 cm: 11 vs 9 g C/kg soil). Nutrients: More nitrogen was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, at one of three depths (0–5 cm: 1.06 vs 0.91 g N/kg soil), but no differences were found in other nutrients (0–25 cm: 14.5–25.6 vs 22.2–26.1 g phosphorus/kg soil; 290–508 vs 367–428 g potassium/kg soil). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disk harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A seed drill and herbicide were used for no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in October 2012 (0–25 cm depth).

 

Soil: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found similar amounts of organic matter and nutrients in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage. Organic matter: Similar amounts of organic carbon were found in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage (9 g C/kg soil). Nutrients: Similar amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium were found in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage (0.92–0.99 vs 0.91–0.97 g N/kg soil; 17.8–25.7 vs 22.2–26.1 g phosphorus/kg soil; 307–419 vs 367–428 g potassium/kg soil). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (6 x 33.5 m plots). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a chisel plough (25 cm depth, twice/year), and a disc harrow (12 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. A chisel plough (25 cm depth, once/year), a disc harrow (5 cm depth), and herbicide were used for reduced tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in October 2012 (0–25 cm depth).