Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/18/2002
Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Interpretive Summary: When changing from intensive tillage such as moldboard plow based tillage to no-till the top 30-cm of soil often becomes very hard. This research was conducted to determine the long-term impact of no-till on soil strength. A hand-held cone penetrometer that provides an index of soil strength was used to evaluated soil strength conditions in replicated winter wheat plots. Comparisons were made among intensive tillage, first- year no-till and seventeen-year no-till. First-year no-till soil was hard to penetrate but after seventeen years of no-till the soil strength was lower and approached tilled conditions.
Technical Abstract: Converting from intensive tillage to no-till systems often increases soil strength but the long-term impact of no-till on soil strength is not fully understood. Soil strength (evaluated with a hand-held cone penetrometer) and soil water content were evaluated in the top 30-cm in a replicated wheat/fallow rotation in a Pacific Northwest silt loam. Comparisons of cone penetration resistance were made among intensive tillage, first-year no-till and seventeen-year no-till. First-year no-till soil was hard to penetrate but after seventeen years of no-till the soil strength was lower and approached tilled conditions. Soil water content was significantly lower in the no-till plots than in intensive tillage plots.