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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Tillage Systems on Spatial Variation in Soil Chemical Properties and Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Performance in Small Fields

1
Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS), Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Universitätstrasse 2, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
2
Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Oregon State University, 2121 South 1st Street Hermiston, OR 97838, USA
3
Agroscope Reckenholz—Tänikon Research Station ART, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland
4
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Länggasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland
5
Department of Soil and Water Resources, Institute of Industrial and Forage Crops, Hellenic Agricultural Organization—“Demeter”, 41335 Larissa, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040182
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Agriculture)
To investigate how tillage intensity modifies the small-scale spatial variability of soil and winter wheat parameters, field trials were conducted on small plots (12 m × 35 m) in three temperate environments in the Swiss midlands: Zollikofen in 1999 (loamy silt soil; Gleyic Cambisol) and Schafisheim in 1999 and in 2000 (sandy loam soil; Orthic Luvisol). Total soil nitrogen (Ntot), total carbon (Ctot) and pH were assessed after harvest. A regular nested grid pattern was applied with sampling intervals of 3 m and 1 m at 0–30 cm on a total of nine no-tillage (NT) and nine conventional tillage (CT) plots. At each grid point, wheat biomass, grain yield, N uptake and grain protein concentration were recorded. Small-scale structural variance of soil Ntot, Ctot and pH was slightly larger in NT than in CT in the topsoil in the tillage direction of the field. Wheat traits had a slightly greater small-scale variability in NT than in CT. Spatial relationships between soil and crop parameters were rather weak but more pronounced in NT. Our results suggest limited potential for variable-rate application of N fertilizer and lime for NT soils. Moderate nugget variances in soil parameters were usually higher in CT than in NT, suggesting that differences in spatial patterns between the tillage systems might occur at even smaller scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: small-scale variability; no-tillage (NT); conventional tillage (CT); soil chemical parameters; agronomic traits; descriptive statistics; geostatistics; temperate zone small-scale variability; no-tillage (NT); conventional tillage (CT); soil chemical parameters; agronomic traits; descriptive statistics; geostatistics; temperate zone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hausherr Lüder, R.-M.; Qin, R.; Richner, W.; Stamp, P.; Streit, B.; Noulas, C. Effect of Tillage Systems on Spatial Variation in Soil Chemical Properties and Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Performance in Small Fields. Agronomy 2019, 9, 182.

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