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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Effect of Tillage Systems, Irrigation Management & Crop Rotations on Soil Physical & Hydraulic Properties


 

Photograph of a watermark meter that is being used to measure the level of water contenet in sugar beet fields.Tillage practices can influence crop yield and production by changing physical, chemical and hydraulic characteristics of soil (structure, aeration, aggregate stability, carbon content, nitrate movement and leaching, bulk density, compaction, water content, infiltration rate hydraulic conductivity) over the growing season. The combined effects of various long term tillage systems and crop rotations on soil characteristics are not well understood, and consequently their interrelationships have not yet been defined.

 

Field trials were established to evaluate the impact of various tillage systems on yields and quality of sugar beets, malt barley and potatoes, and to assess their effects on soil physical and hydraulic properties under self-propelled irrigated crop rotation systems. These will be combined and compared with other spatial data including soil chemical, electrical conductivity, soil texture, bulk densities, soil compaction, and crop yields. Results will be used to develop ways to assess variability of water infiltration across a field (statistical/analytical and practical field level) and causes of the variation to improve management capacity and reduce adverse environmental consequences.

 

 

Contributing Scientists:  Jay Jabro (Soil Scientist), Robert Evans (Agricultural Engineer), Bart Stevens (Agronomist) and Upendra Sainju (Soil Scientist)

 

 


Last Modified: 1/28/2014