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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Tillage translocation and tillage erosion in cereal-based production in Manitoba, Canada

Authors
item Li, Sheng - UNIV. OF MANITOBA
item Lobb, David - UNIV. OF MANITOBA
item Lindstrom, Michael

Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 27, 2006
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Repository URL: http://sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=PublicationURL&_cdi=5162&_pubType=J&_auth=y&_acct=C000052423&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=4250348&md5=44f13db3ba86599f002c1bb707988fb6
Citation: Li, S., Lobb, D., Lindstrom, M.J. 2007. Tillage translocation and tillage erosion in cereal-based production in Manitoba, Canada. Soil & Tillage Research. 94:164-182.

Interpretive Summary: Tillage erosion is a major contributor to the total soil erosion occurring within cultivated fields. To our knowledge, no studies have been conducted to measure tillage erosion associated with cereal-based production systems, which is the predominant form of crop production in the Canadian Prairies. Previous tillage translocation studies have focused on primary tillage implements (i.e., moldboard and chisel plows) with slope gradient normally assumed to be the only factor that affects tillage translocation. Currently, there is a lack of information available regarding the effect of secondary tillage and seeding implements and of slope curvature on total tillage translocation and erosion. In this study, plots were established to measure tillage translocation caused by four tillage implements: air seeder, spring-tooth harrow, light cultivator and deep tiller. Together, these four implements comprise a typical conventional tillage sequence for cereal-based production in the Canadian Prairies. We determined that secondary tillage implements could be as erosive as primary tillage implements. In addition, the erosivity of the air seeder was comparable to that of the deep tiller, the primary tillage implement, when seeding was conducted shortly after the light cultivator. In the majority of cases, tillage translocation could be explained by slope gradient alone, confirming that slope gradient is the main factor driving tillage translocation. However, slope curvature also significantly affected tillage translocation and should be used for future modeling. Extension personnel, consultants, agricultural researchers, and land managers can use this information to design and implement better land management practices to reduce erosion in the North American prairie, a critically-important agricultural region.

Technical Abstract: Tillage erosion is a major contributor to the total soil erosion occurring within cultivated fields. To our knowledge, no studies have been conducted to measure tillage erosion associated with cereal-based production systems, which is the predominant form of crop production in the Canadian Prairies. Previous tillage translocation studies have focused on primary tillage implements (i.e., moldboard and chisel plows) with slope gradient normally assumed to be the only factor that affects tillage translocation. Currently, there is a lack of information available regarding the effect of secondary tillage and seeding implements and of slope curvature on total tillage translocation and erosion. In this study, 77 plots were established within a field site in southern Manitoba, Canada, to examine tillage translocation caused by four tillage implements: air seeder, spring-tooth harrow, light cultivator and deep tiller. Together, these four implements comprise a typical conventional tillage sequence for cereal-based production in the Canadian Prairies. We determined that secondary tillage implements could be as erosive as primary tillage implements. In addition, the erosivity of the air seeder was comparable to that of the deep tiller, the primary tillage implement, when seeding was conducted shortly after the light cultivator. In the majority of cases, tillage translocation could be explained by slope gradient alone, confirming that slope gradient is the main factor driving tillage translocation. However, slope curvature also significantly affected tillage translocation and should be used for future modeling.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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