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Open AccessArticle

Infiltration and Soil Loss Changes during the Growing Season under Ploughing and Conservation Tillage

1
Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Geographical Institute, 1112 Budapest, Hungary
2
Syngenta Crop Protection AG, 40002 Basel, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101726
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Science in Conservation Agricultural Systems)
Decreased water retention and increased runoff and soil loss are of special importance concerning soil degradation of hilly crop fields. In this study, plots under ploughing (conventional) tillage (PT) and conservation tillage (CT; 15 years) were compared. Rainfall simulation on 6 m2 plots was applied to determine infiltration and soil loss during the growing season. Results were compared with those measured from 1200 m2 plots exposed to natural rainfalls in 2016. Infiltration was always higher under CT than PT, whereas the highest infiltration was measured under the cover crop condition. Infiltration under seedbed and stubble resulted in uncertainties, which suggests that natural pore formation can be more effective at improving soil drainage potential than can temporary improvements created by soil tillage operations. Soil erodibility was higher under PT for each soil status; however, the seedbed condition triggered the highest values. For CT, soil loss volume was only a function of runoff volume at both scales. Contrarily, on PT plots, some extreme precipitation events triggered extremely high soil loss owing to linear erosion, which meant no direct connection existed between the scales. Improved soil conditions due to conservation practice are more important for decreasing soil loss than the better surface conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainfall simulation; USLE; PESERA; runoff; soil erosion; water management; tillage rainfall simulation; USLE; PESERA; runoff; soil erosion; water management; tillage
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Jakab, G.; Madarász, B.; Szabó, J.A.; Tóth, A.; Zacháry, D.; Szalai, Z.; Kertész, Á.; Dyson, J. Infiltration and Soil Loss Changes during the Growing Season under Ploughing and Conservation Tillage. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1726.

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