Influence of mouldboard ploughing and shallow tillage on soil physical properties and crop performance

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Soil and Environment

Abstract: This study was conducted in spring 2011 in a long-term field experiment with the objective of assessing the effect of shallow tillage and mouldboard ploughing on some soil physical properties and crop performance. In this field, different tillage experiments established in 1974. Five treatments were included in the experiment but this investigation considered only two treatments, shallow tillage and mouldboard ploughing. In these two treatments, undisturbed soil samples were taken before sowing the seeds at the depth of 15-20, 25-30 and 35-40 cm for the determination of saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks), bulk density (Bd), and water retention in laboratory condition. Penetrometer resistance (PR) were measured in the field one month after sowing. Plant density of barley was also counted one month after sowing. Significantly higher Ks value was found for shallow tillage at the depth of 15-20 and 25-30 cm. Bd was significantly lower for mouldboard ploughing for the first two investigating depth and it was higher at 35-40 cm but the difference was not statistically significant. Moreover, Bd was high in both treatments. Significant higher PR value was found for shallow tillage especially at the depth of 5-35 cm but the result was not so high to reduce the root growth. Water content determined parallel with PR measurement was similar for the two treatments. Plant density and crop yield were significantly higher in shallow tilled treatment than in moulboard ploughing. Field water content at 15-20 and 25-30 cm was significantly higher for moulboard ploughing. Water retention at 1 meter suction was also significantly higher in the treatment with mouldboard ploughing. However, the differences of the physical parameters due to tillage treatments was sufficient to markedly influence crop performanc and yield.

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