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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 55 No. 3, p. 817-823
    Received: Mar 14, 1990

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Macroporosity of a Well-Drained Soil under No-Till and Conventional Tillage

  1. G. H. Dunn  and
  2. R. E. Phillips
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40545-0091



Conventional tillage and no-tillage have been shown to affect the hydraulic properties of soil. For this reason, a field experiment was conducted in 1987 and 1988 to determine the effect of tillage practice and cover crop on the macroporosity of a Maury silt loam (fine, mixed, mesic Typic Paleudalf). The field used for this study has been in continuous no-till and conventional-till corn (Zea mays L.) since 1970. Ponded steady-state infiltration measurements were made using double-ring infiltrometers; afterwards, a tension infiltrometer was used to measure water flux at −0.4, −0.9, and −1.4 kPa water pressure. These negative water pressures were used to calculate equivalent cylindrical pore diameters from the capillaryrise equation. Flux at a pressure of −0.06 kPa was determined from regression equations for each plot. Equivalent pore diameters of 5.0, 0.75, 0.33, and 0.21 mm correspond to −0.06, −0.4, −0.9, and −1.4 kPa, respectively. In June 1987, conventional tillage had significantly higher water flux than no-till for the 5.0- to 0.75-mm equivalent-diameter pore size range. In 1987, rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop plots had significantly higher water-flux values than hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) plots for the same range of equivalent pore sizes. In June 1988, no-till plots had significantly higher water-flux values for all equivalent pore size ranges. In 1987, 73 and 80% of the total water flux at −0.06 kPa water pressure was transmitted through pores >0.21-mm equivalent diameter in no-till and conventional tillage plots, respectively. The corresponding values in 1988 were 83 and 73%.

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