Hydraulic conductivity, residue cover and soil surface roughness under different tillage systems in semiarid conditions
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The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of tillage and cropping system on near-saturated hydraulic conductivity, residue cover and surface roughness to improve soil management for moisture conservation under semiarid Mediterranean conditions. Three tillage systems were compared (subsoil tillage, minimum tillage and no-tillage) under three field situations (continuous crop, fallow and crop after fallow) on two soils (Fluventic Xerochrept and Lithic Xeric Torriorthent). Soil under no-tillage had lower hydraulic conductivity (5.0 cm day 1 ) than under subsoil tillage (15.5 cm day 1 ) or minimum tillage (14.3 cm day 1 ) during 1 of 2 years in continuous crop due to a reduction of soil porosity. Residue cover at sowing was greater under no-tillage (60%) than under subsoil or minimum tillage (<10%) in continuous crop. Under fallow, residue cover was low (10%) at sowing of the following crop for all tillage systems in both soils. Surface roughness increased with tillage, with a high value of 16% and decreasing following rainfall. Under no-tillage, surface roughness was relatively low (3–4%). Greater surface residue cover under no-tillage helped conserve water, despite indications of lower hydraulic conductivity. To overcome the condition of low infiltration and high evaporation when no-till fallow is expected in a cropping sequence, either greater residue production should be planed prior to fallow (e.g. no residue harvest) or surface tillage may be needed during fallow.
Is part ofSoil and Tillage Research, 2006, vol. 85, núm. 1-2, p. 13-26
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