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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: No-tillage and high-residue practices reduce soil water evaporation

Published source details

Mitchell J.P., Singh P.N., Wallender W.W., Munk D.S., Wroble J.F., Horwath W.R., Hogan P., Roy R. & Hanson B.R. (2012) No-tillage and high-residue practices reduce soil water evaporation. California Agriculture, 66, 55-61


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Water: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2009–2010 in a wheat-maize field in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found more water in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Water availability: More water was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage (20–23% vs 12–14% volumetric water content). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (1.5 x 91 m plots). A disk plough and a chisel plough (30 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage, in April 2009–2010 (after harvesting the wheat). In plots with no tillage, soils were not disturbed after harvesting the wheat. Wheat and maize were grown in rotation. Soil water content was measured after tillage (0–20 cm depth, about 12 reflectometer readings/plot and 4–6 soil cores/plot, 7.5 cm diameter).