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Individual study: Tillage influence on biophysical soil properties: The example of a long-term tillage experiment under Mediterranean rainfed conditions in South Spain

Published source details

López-Garrido R., Deurer M., Madejón E., Murillo J.M. & Moreno F. (2012) Tillage influence on biophysical soil properties: The example of a long-term tillage experiment under Mediterranean rainfed conditions in South Spain. Soil and Tillage Research, 118, 52-60


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Water: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1991–2008 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found similar amounts of water infiltration in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage. Water availability: Similar amounts of water infiltration were found in soils with reduced tillage or conventional tillage (0.28 vs 0.38 mm conductive macro-pore diameter). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (22 x 14 m plots). A mouldboard plough and a chisel plough were used for conventional tillage (25–30 cm depth), and crop residues were burned (1992–2003, but not 2004–2008). A chisel plough and herbicide were used for reduced tillage (25–30 cm depth), and crop residues were retained. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Water infiltration was measured with an infiltrometer (between –60 and –20 mm tension) in 2008.

 

Soil: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1991–2008 in a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain, found more organic matter, more soil organisms, and lower greenhouse-gas emissions in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Tillage had inconsistent effects on soil stability. Organic matter: More organic carbon was found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of three comparisons (0–5 cm depth: 11 vs 10 g total organic C/kg soil). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of three comparisons (0–5 cm depth: 885 vs 620 mg C/kg soil). Soil erosion and aggregation: More stable soils were found in plots with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of nine comparisons (5–10 cm depth: 49 vs 39% water-stable aggregates), but less stable soils were found in one of nine comparisons (data reported as aggregation index). Greenhouse gases: Lower carbon dioxide emissions were found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage (0.31 vs 0.40 g CO2/m2/hour). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (22 x 14 m plots). A mouldboard plough and a chisel plough were used for conventional tillage (25–30 cm depth), and crop residues were burned (1992–2003, but not 2004–2008). A chisel plough and herbicide were used for reduced tillage (25–30 cm depth), and crop residues were retained. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in 2008 (0–25 cm depth, four samples/plot).