Original Articles

Soil-water conservation as affected by primary tillage practices

Published in: South African Journal of Plant and Soil
Volume 2, issue 1, 1985 , pages: 19–20
DOI: 10.1080/02571862.1985.10634132
Author(s): W., A.J. BerrySummer Grain Sub-Centre,, J.B. MallettSummer Grain Sub-Centre,, M.A. Johnston,

Abstract

An investigation of water conservation as affected by different primary tillage methods was conducted on a soil of the Doveton series (fine-loamy, mixed, thermic family of Rhodic Paleudults), where a direct sampling technique was used to monitor the soil-water profiles. Soil samples were taken for the period just prior to early winter tillage to two weeks before the maize crop flowered. The results showed that tillage practices which maintain higher levels of surface residues retained more water than practices which by their mode of soil disturbance leave soil surfaces relatively ‘clean’. Measured differences in soil physical properties and possibly also surface residue distribution resulting from tillage were used to explain why reduced tillage systems provided better water conservation.

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