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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil & Crop Management

Tillage System, Preceding Crop, and Nitrogen Fertilizer in Wheat Crop


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 99 No. 1, p. 59-65
    Received: Jan 31, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): rafael.lopez@dcaf.uhu.es
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  1. Rafael J. López-Bellido *a,
  2. Luis López-Bellidob,
  3. Jorge Benítez-Vegab and
  4. Francisco J. López-Bellidoc
  1. a Dep. de Ciencias Agroforestales, Univ. of Huelva, Campus de La Rábida, 21819 Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), Spain
    b Dep. de Ciencias y Recursos Agrícolas y Forestales, Univ. of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
    c Dep. de Producción Vegetal y Tecnología Agraria, Univ. of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain


Under rainfed Mediterranean conditions, water economy must be based on a suitable choice of agronomic techniques. A 6-yr study was undertaken to determine the effects of tillage system, preceding crop, and N fertilizer on soil water at wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) planting and harvest in a Vertisol. Tillage treatments were no-tillage and conventional tillage. Preceding crops, in 2-yr rotations, were sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), faba bean (Vicia faba L.), fallow, and continuous wheat. Nitrogen fertilizer rates were 0, 50, 100, and 150 kg N ha−1 applied to wheat only. No-tillage did not provide more water at wheat planting for any of the rotations. Preceding crop effect on soil water content (SWC) at planting was as follows: fallow ≥ faba bean > wheat ≥ chickpea > sunflower. At harvest, SWC was higher in continuous wheat. Only at harvest were there differences among N fertilizer rates for SWC. Besides, measurement of SWC at harvest for sunflower, chickpea, faba bean, and fallow were performed to determine soil water storage and precipitation storage efficiency (PSE) for 2 yr. Soil water storage was higher for rotations with sunflower or fallow. Nevertheless, fallow PSE was the lowest (10%). The mean PSE was 29%. Under the conditions of this study, no-tillage is not more efficient than conventional tillage in soil water accumulation. Fallow is not a useful tool for increasing water availability.

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