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Spatial analysis of long-term effects of different tillage practices based on penetration resistance (2016)

Kuhwald M., Blaschek M., Minkler R., Nazemtseva Y., Schwanebeck M., Winter J., Duttmann R.

Soil Use and Management, 32 (2), 240-249



Measuring penetration resistance (PR) is a common technique for evaluating the effects of field management on soils. This study focuses on the effects of long-term tillage on the spatial distribution of PR, comparing reduced and conventional tillage (CT) practices. The study site, located in Lower Saxony (Germany), has been subdivided into three plots, with one plot having been managed conventionally, whereas reduced tillage (RT) practices have been applied to the other two. In total, PR was measured at 63 randomly selected points. The PR data were stepwise interpolated using kriging with external drift. Core samples have been taken at 20 additional sites. The results show significant differences in PR between the different tillage practices. Within the conventionally managed plot, PR ranges to 2.3 MPa less in the topsoil than under RT. However, measured saturated hydraulic conductivity and amount of biopores at the depth of 30–35 cm are significantly greater under RT, indicating improved soil properties under RT. Comparisons between the headlands (HL) and the inner field point out the effects of intense field traffic in the HL, where maximum PR values of about 6 MPa have been measured. The spatial prediction of PR values show that long-term effects of different tillage practices result in clearly structured patterns between CT and RT and the HL. Combining extensive PR measurements and point measurements of additional soil properties supports an adequate interpretation of PR data and can lead to fieldwide derivation of soil functions influenced by field management.