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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Surface Hydrologic Response of Soils to No-Tillage


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 53 No. 5, p. 1520-1526
    Received: Oct 5, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. W. A. Dick ,
  2. R. J. Roseberg,
  3. E. L. McCoy,
  4. F. Haghiri and
  5. W. M. Edwards
  1. Ohio State Univ./Ohio Agric. Res. and Development Center, Wooster, OH 44691
    USDA-ARS, North Appalachian Exp. Watershed, Coshocton, OH 43812



No-tillage (NT) crop production is practiced on approximately 5% of the total cropland in the USA. The effect of NT on soil surface hydrology is not well understood. In a 0.5-ha watershed containing Rayne silt loam (Typic Hapludult) of 9% slope to which NT had been continuously applied for 16 or more years, storms with 1-min intensities >76 mm h−1 were required before surface runoff could be generated. Approximately 96% of the annual surface runoff occurred as a result of these intense storms. To provide more detailed and statistically relevant information of NT effects on surface soil hydrology, a study was conducted using undisturbed lysimeters (4.8 by 1.7 m) containing a Canfield silt loam soil (Aquic Fragiudalf). During the 6 yr of the study, the amount of water that percolated through the soil and left the lysimeters as leachate was two times greater under NT as compared to conventional tillage (CT). Leachate equaled 55% of the precipitation input for the NT lysimeters and 24% for the CT lysimeters, with the greatest amounts leaving the lysimeters during the winter and spring seasons. The amount of leachate, expressed as a percentage of total water (sum of runoff plus leachate), leaving the lysimeters was 88% for the NT treatments and 60% for the CT treatments. Amounts of surface runoff were two times greater under CT than NT. Cross correlation analysis indicated a similar temporal pattern between leachate production and precipitation for both tillage treatments. A stronger temporal relationship existed between precipitation and runoff for the CT than for the NT treatment, however. The effect of NT on surface soil hydrology was clearly evident only 3 yr after the last tillage operation.

Contribution from The Ohio State Univ./The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OSU/OARDC), Wooster, in cooperation with the USDA-ARS, North Appalachian Exp. Watershed, Coshocton, OH 43812. Salaries and research support provided in part by state and federal funds appropriated to OSU/OARDC. Journal article no. 208-87.

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