Effect of tillage systems on soil properties, humus and water conservation


Human action upon soil by tillage determines important morphological, physical-chemical and biological changes, with different intensities and evaluative directions. Nowadays, it is internationally accepted the fact that global climatic changes are the results of human intervention in the bio-geo-chemical water and material cycle, and the sequestration of carbon in soil is considered an important intervention to limit these changes. Carbon sequestration in soil is net advantageous, improving the productivity and sustainability. The more the organic content in soil is higher the better soil aggregation is. The soil without organic content is compact. This reduces its capacity to infiltrate water, nutrients solubility and productivity, and that way it reduces the soil capacity for carbon sequestration. Organic matter is an extremely important constituent of soils and is vital to many of the hydrological, biological and chemical reactions required for sustaining plant life. We present the influence of conventional plough tillage system on soil, water and organic matter conservation in comparison with an alternative minimum tillage system (paraplow, chisel plow and rotary harrow). The application of minimum tillage systems increased the organic matter content 0.8% to 22.1% and water stabile aggregate content from 1.3% to 13.6%, in the 0 - 30 cm depth, as compared to the classical system. For the organic matter content and the wet aggregate stability, the statistical analysis of the data showed, increasing positive significance of minimum systems. While the soil fertility and the wet aggregate stability were initially low, the effect of conservation practices on the soil features resulted in a positive impact on the water permeability of the soil. Availability of soil moisture during the crop growth resulted in better plant water status. Subsequent release of conserved soil water regulated proper plant water status, soil structure, and lowered soil pene-trometer resistance.

Share and Cite:

Rusu, T. , Pacurar, I. , Dirja, M. ,Pacurar, H.M., Oroian, I. ,Cosma, S.A and Gheres, M.(2013) Effect of tillage systems on soil properties, humus and water conservation. Agricultural Sciences, 4, 35-40. doi: 10.4236/as.2013.45B007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Derpsch, R. and Moriya, K. (1998) Historical review of no-tillage cultivation of crops. Proceedings First JIRCAS Seminar on soybean research, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, JIRCAS Working Report, 13, 1-18.
[2] Dick, W.A., Mccoy, E.L., Edwards, W.M. and Lal, R. (1994) Continuous application of no-tillage to Ohio soils. Agronomy Journal-Abstract, 83, 65-73. doi:10.2134/agronj1991.00021962008300010017x
[3] Fabrizzi, K.P., Garcia, F.O., Costa, J.L. and Picone, L.I.(2005) Soil water dynamics, physical properties and corn and wheat responses to minimum and no-tillage systems in the southern Pampas of Argentina. Soil and Tillage Research, 81, 57-69. doi:10.1016/j.still.2004.05.001
[4] Feiza, V., Deveikyte, I. and Simanskaite, D. (2005) Soil physical and agrochemical properties changes, weediness and yield of crops in longterm tillage experiment in Lithuania. Scientific publication, 48, 96-100.
[5] Gus, P. (1997) The influence of Soil Tillage on yield and on some soil characteristics. In Alternatives in Soil Tillage, Symposium Cluj-Napoca, 2, 151-155.
[6] Jitareanu, G., Ailincai, C. and Bucur, D. (2006) Influence of Tillage Systems on Soil Phsical and Chemical Caracteristics and Yield in Soybean and Maize Grown in the Moldavian Plain (North–Eastern Romania). In Soil Management for Sustainability, IUSS, Catena Verlag, Germany. 370-379,
[7] Lal, R. (2004) Soil erosion and the global carbon budget. Environment International, 29, 437-450. doi:10.1016/S0160-4120(02)00192-7
[8] Marin, D. I., Mihalache, M., Ciontu, C., Bolohan, C.and Ilie, L. (2011) Influence of soil tillage of pea, wheat and maize crop in the Moara Domneasca-Ilfov area. 5th International Symposium Soil Minimum Tillage System, Ed. Risoprint Cluj-Napoca. 111-118.
[9] Mark, A. Licht and Mahdi Al-Kaisi. (2004) Strip-tillage effect seedbed soil temperature and other soil physical properties. Soil and Tillage Research, 80, 233-249.
[10] Moroizumi, T. and Horino, H. (2002) The effects of tillage on soil temperature and soil water. Soil Science. 167, 548-559. doi:10.1097/00010694-200208000-00006
[11] Oldeman I., Penning de Vries, L., Scherr, F. and Sombatpanit, S. (2006) Response to land degradation. Enfield, USA: Science Publishers Inc, 344.
[12] Riley, H. C. F., Bleken, M. A, Abrahamsen, S., Bergjord, A. K. and Bakken, A. K. (2005) Effects of alternative tillage systems on soil quality and yield of spring cereals on silty clay loam and sandy loam soils in the cool, wet climate of central Norway. Soil and Tillage Research, 80, 79-93. doi:10.1016/j.still.2004.03.005
[13] Rusu, T. (2001) The influence of Minimum Soil Tillage upon the soil, yield and efficiency. PhD Thesis, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca.
[14] Rusu, T., Gus, P., Bogdan, I., Moraru, P.I., Pop, A.I., Clapa, D., Marin, D.I., Oroian, I. and Pop, L.I. (2009) Implications of Minimum Tillage Systems on Sustainability of Agricultural Production and Soil Conservation. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 7, 335-338.
[15] Raja, R. K., Vara Prasad, P. V. and Kakani, V. G. (2005) Crop response to elevated carbon dioxide and interactions with temperature: Cotton. Journal of Crop Improvment, 13, 157-161. doi:10.1300/J411v13n01_08
[16] Reicosky, D.C. (2006) Carbon is the “C” that starts “C”onservation. Soil Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, North Central Soil Conservation, http://waswc.ait.ac.th/index.html.
[17] Tuba, Z. (2005) Is the Long–Term Elevated Air CO2 Environment Beneficial for Plants, Crops and Vegetation. Journal of Crop Improvment, 13, 1-6. doi:10.1300/J411v13n01_01
[18] Turcu, V.E., Jones, S.B. and Or, D. (2005) Continuous soil carbon dioxide and oxygen measurements and estimation of gradient-based gaseous flux. Vadose Zone Journal, 4, 1161-1169. doi:10.2136/vzj2004.0164
[19] Ulrich, S., Hofmann, B., Tischer, S. and Christen, O. (2006) Influence of Tillage on Soil Quality in a Long Term Trial in Germany. In Soil Management for Sustainability, IUSS, Catena Verlag, Germany. 110-116.
[20] MESP (1987) Pedologic Studies Elaboration Metodology. Pedologic and Agrochemical Ins. Bucharest, 1-3.
[21] PoliFact (2008) ANOVA and Duncan's test pc program for variant analyses made for completely randomized polifactorial experiences. USAMV Cluj-Napoca.
[22] SRTS (2003) Romanian System of Soil Taxonomy. Ed. Estfalia, Bucharest, pp. 182.
[23] WRB-SR (1998) World Reference Base for Soil Resources. World Soil Resources Report 84. ISSS, ISRIC.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.