Soil Crusting and Water Infiltration Affected by Long-Term Tillage and Residue Management
- J. L. Pikul and
- J. F. Zuzel
Soils with low organic carbon (OC) are prone to crusting. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of tillage and N-fertility on crusting and water infiltration. Experiments were conducted on two long-term winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) -fallow studies. Primary tillage treatments on a tillage study started in 1940 were moldboard plow, disk, and sweep, with fertilizer rates of 45 and 180 kg N ha−1. Primary tillage on a residue management study started in 1931 was spring moldboard plowing. Residue management consisted of wheat straw burned in fall with no added N (FB), 22.4 tons ha−1 of strawy manure every other year (SM), and 90 kg N ha−1 every other year (N90). Water infiltration did not differ among tillage treatments but was 57% greater on 180 kg N ha−1 than on 45 kg N ha−1. Porosity of the surface crust on 180 kg N ha−1 was 12% greater than on 45 kg N ha−1 and 29% greater on SM than on FB. There was a 14% increase in porosity of the surface crust during winter on SM and N90 and a decrease in porosity on FB. Organic C was 62% greater on SM than on FB. Porosity was significantly correlated (r = 0.75) with OC on the tillage and residue studies. Management practices that conserve or increase OC are important to develop porous soils with high infiltrability.
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