Location: Agricultural Systems ResearchTitle: Physical and hydraulic properties of a sandy loam soil under zero, shallow and deep tillage practices
|Jabro, Jalal "jay"|
|Iversen, William - Bill|
|Stevens, William - Bart|
Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2016
Publication Date: 2/23/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61898
Citation: Jabro, J.D., Iversen, W.M., Stevens, W.B., Evans, R.G., Mikha, M.M., Allen, B.L. 2016. Physical and hydraulic properties of a sandy loam soil under zero, shallow and deep tillage practices. Soil & Tillage Research. 159: 67–72.
Interpretive Summary: Since the early great civilizations, tillage has been an integral component of agricultural and food production. It has been considered one of the most important agronomic practices that can alter soil properties and create a complex soil ecosystem. A 4-yr study investigated the impact of no-tillage (NT), shallow tillage at a 10-cm depth (ST), and deep tillage at a 30-cm depth (DT) practices on soil bulk density (BD), saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks), and moisture content (MC) in a sandy loam soil under irrigated sugarbeet. Based on our results, we conclude that NT, ST and DT methods considered in this study did not significantly affected BD, Ks and soil MC storage due to maintaining similar total porosity in sandy loam soil under these three tillage practices. We believe soil texture was the main factor that determined total porosity in the soil thus affecting soil BD, Ks and MC retention under each tillage practice used in this study. Generally, sandy loam soils are prone to compaction which leads to unfavorable soil physical and hydraulic properties regardless of type of tillage practice. While NT and ST practices are promising alternatives to conventional tillage for agricultural production that improve soil physical properties, enhance infiltration rate, and conserve soil water storage, further research is needed to evaluate the effect of different tillage practices on soil physical and hydraulic properties of clay textured soils.
Technical Abstract: Over the centuries, tillage has been an important agronomic practice that has been used to mechanically alter soil properties and enhance the soil ecosystem for growth of crops. A 4-yr study investigated the impact of no-tillage (NT), shallow tillage at a 10-cm depth (ST), and deep tillage at a 30-cm depth (DT) practices on soil bulk density (BD), saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks), and moisture content (MC) in a sandy loam soil. Soil BD was not significantly influenced by tillage in the 0-to 10, 20-to 30, and 30-to 40 cm layers for all four years. However, soil BD was significantly lower in DT than in ST and NT at the 10-to 20 cm in 2008. Mean BD profile averaged over all years and layers resulted in the lowest BD for DT relative to ST and NT, respectively. Soil Ks was not affected by tillage during the course of study except for the 10-to 20 cm layer in 2008 where Ks results corresponded with soil bulk density results. In 2008, soil Ks values were significantly greater in DT than in ST and NT at the 10-to 20 cm layer. Soil MC was not significantly impacted by tillage at any of the four depths measured during the course of the study from 2008 to 2011. We concluded that tillage did not significantly affect BD, Ks and soil MC most likely due to the unchanging total porosity in sandy loam soil regardless of tillage type.