Conservation agriculture, and in particular no-till systems, generally yield improvements in both soil characteristics (e.g. structure, and water holding capacity) and soil processes (such as runoff and hence erosion). Nevertheless, during the first years of no-till, the soil is prone to compaction due to the poor structure, missing ploughing activities, and passage of tractors and machinery, thus favouring surface runoff and soil erosion. Little information exists about the effect of no-till when applied during the transition period from conventional to conservation agriculture. This study aimed at analysing runoff and soil erosion in a non-tilled field in comparison with a tilled field during the transition period. The study was conducted at the Padova University Experimental Farm, in northeast Italy. Six sub-plots (2.5 m × 5 m) were established, three in a tilled field (CT plot) and three in a non-tilled field (NT plot). Each sub-plot was equipped with a runoff water collection system. Runoff was monitored during two sampling seasons: from May to October 2017 and May to September 2018. Runoff water volume was measured at each rainfall event, and the amount of sediment was quantified by drying the runoff samples. This technique is simple and inexpensive and suitable to be applied also in rural areas with inadequate infrastructures and economic resources. Two indices, runoff reduction benefits (RRB) and sediment reduction benefits (SRB), were computed. During the monitoring period, 24 runoff events occurred. NT practices coincided with reductions of over 50% in runoff volumes and 50% to 95% in sediment losses. Only the runoff event just after the CT soil harrowing produced a significantly lower runoff and sediment loss in CT than in NT field, due to the effect of soil tillage on surface roughness and rainfall infiltration. The average sediment concentration in NT was only 47% of CT. The RRB and SRB values confirmed a reduction in runoff and sediment loss in the NT compared with the CT plot, but SRB was greater than the RRB, indicating that the no-till regime showed a better control of sediment loss than it did the runoff amount. The reduced runoff and sediment yield in the NT plot could have important on-site benefits in terms of both sustainable soil management and surface water quality.

Evaluation of runoff and soil erosion under conventional tillage and no-till management: A case study in northeast Italy

Carretta L.;Tarolli P.
;
Cardinali A.;Masin R.
2021

Abstract

Conservation agriculture, and in particular no-till systems, generally yield improvements in both soil characteristics (e.g. structure, and water holding capacity) and soil processes (such as runoff and hence erosion). Nevertheless, during the first years of no-till, the soil is prone to compaction due to the poor structure, missing ploughing activities, and passage of tractors and machinery, thus favouring surface runoff and soil erosion. Little information exists about the effect of no-till when applied during the transition period from conventional to conservation agriculture. This study aimed at analysing runoff and soil erosion in a non-tilled field in comparison with a tilled field during the transition period. The study was conducted at the Padova University Experimental Farm, in northeast Italy. Six sub-plots (2.5 m × 5 m) were established, three in a tilled field (CT plot) and three in a non-tilled field (NT plot). Each sub-plot was equipped with a runoff water collection system. Runoff was monitored during two sampling seasons: from May to October 2017 and May to September 2018. Runoff water volume was measured at each rainfall event, and the amount of sediment was quantified by drying the runoff samples. This technique is simple and inexpensive and suitable to be applied also in rural areas with inadequate infrastructures and economic resources. Two indices, runoff reduction benefits (RRB) and sediment reduction benefits (SRB), were computed. During the monitoring period, 24 runoff events occurred. NT practices coincided with reductions of over 50% in runoff volumes and 50% to 95% in sediment losses. Only the runoff event just after the CT soil harrowing produced a significantly lower runoff and sediment loss in CT than in NT field, due to the effect of soil tillage on surface roughness and rainfall infiltration. The average sediment concentration in NT was only 47% of CT. The RRB and SRB values confirmed a reduction in runoff and sediment loss in the NT compared with the CT plot, but SRB was greater than the RRB, indicating that the no-till regime showed a better control of sediment loss than it did the runoff amount. The reduced runoff and sediment yield in the NT plot could have important on-site benefits in terms of both sustainable soil management and surface water quality.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3360297
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