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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #270552

Title: Tillage, residue, and crop rotation effects on rain infiltration and sediment transport

item Baumhardt, Roland - Louis
item Schwartz, Robert

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2011
Publication Date: 10/18/2011
Citation: Baumhardt, R.L., Schwartz, R.C. 2011. Tillage, residue, and crop rotation effects on rain infiltration and sediment transport [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 271-2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Increased precipitation storage as soil water is crucial to dryland production of wheat, (Triticum aestivum L.) and grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] on the semiarid southern Great Plains. At the USDA-ARS, Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, Texas (35 deg. 11' N, 102 deg. 5' W), seasonal runoff of rain from a Pullman clay loam (fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll) is typically less with stubble-mulch (SM) tillage than for no-tillage (NT) of either continuous wheat (CW) or wheat grown in rotation with grain sorghum and an intervening wheat sorghum fallow (WSF). Our objective was to quantify tillage and residue effects on selected soil properties, infiltration of simulated rain, and related sediment transport for long-term CW and WSF rotation plots. Water was applied with a rotating disk rainfall simulator to three replicates of all possible tillage (SM and NT) and rotation (CW and WSF) combinations that were either bare or covered with straw. Compared with bare soil, wheat straw residue cover increased cumulative rain infiltration at 60 minutes, greater than 25 mm across all tillage and rotation combinations, and also decreased soil loss. Compared with no-till soil, SM tillage consistently increased rain infiltration and sediment concentration in runoff, but not total soil loss. The CW rotation typically increased infiltration, regardless of residue cover or tillage compared with the WSF rotation, probably due to greater aggregate stability. We conclude that residue cover significantly increases rain infiltration over any of our tested bare soil tillage and rotation treatment combinations. Nevertheless, we observed a lower rain infiltration rate at 60 minutes under no-tillage residue management than where stubble-mulch tillage disturbed the soil.