Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Tillage practices are needed to increase agronomic stability and productivity while enhancing the environment. Ridge tillage has been demonstrated as an effective agronomic practice; some have described it as a miniature precision agriculture. Environmental impacts have generally been positive but the results vary depending upon soil and climatic factors. Ridge tillage changes the temperature and soil water patterns in the soil compared to no-till and full width conventional practices. These changes lead to an improved soil environment for crop emergence and early growth due to warmer soil temperatures and better water relations in both poorly drained and moderately well drained soils. While increased soil water infiltration can lead to increased leaching and greater loading of nitrates and herbicides at the bottom of the root zone, controlled studies suggest that ridge tillage with precise agrichemicals application can be used to render a favorable environmental impact. Moreover, the combined herbicide and cultivation for weed control can reduce the treated area and overall application rates for herbicides. Ridge tillage was evaluated at a number of field locations of the Management Systems Evaluation Areas (MSEA) program to assess both agronomic and environmental impacts. A special part of the ridge tillage evaluations was to trace agrichemical movement from the site of application to the nearest surficial aquifer.