Tillage system regulates the soil moisture tension, penetration resistance and temperature responses to the temporal variability of precipitation during the growing season
More details
Hide details
Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, Prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Vladimira Preloga 1, HR-31000 Osijek, Croatia
Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Doświadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland
Institute of Human Nutrition and Agriculture, The University College of Applied Sciences in Chełm, Wojsławicka 8B, 22-100 Chełm, Poland
Final revision date: 2023-08-18
Acceptance date: 2023-08-23
Publication date: 2023-09-29
Corresponding author
Edward Wilczewski   

Department of Agronomy, Politechnika Bydgoska im. Jana i Jędrzeja Śniadeckich, Prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Int. Agrophys. 2023, 37(4): 391-399
  • Soil moisture tension under conservation (CTS) and standard tillage was judged.
  • Soil moisture tension shortly after heavy rains was not influenced by tillage.
  • Conservation tillage (CTS) well enhanced soil organic C and water retention.
  • CTS increased wheat biomass production and soil water use after heavy rains.
At present there is little information available concerning the relationship between the tillage system applied and the soil moisture tension, penetration resistance, soil moisture content, and temperature responses to the temporal variability of precipitation under the semi-arid Mediterranean environment. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of standard tillage (ploughing to 25-35 cm) and conservation tillage shallow (loosening to 10 cm) on temporal changes in the three properties in response to the precipitation pattern in Croatia. The temporal changes in soil moisture tension were determined using Watermark sensors (at 15 and 30 cm), and penetration resistance (at 0-30 cm) was determined with an Eijkelkamp penetrometer in spring under winter wheat. After heavy precipitation, the soil moisture tensions were similar irrespective of the tillage system used and the measurement depth, while with the increasing length of the period without precipitation (using the last precipitation incident as the starting timepoint), the soil moisture tensions increased to a greater extent under conservation tillage shallow as compared to standard tillage. The temporal changes in soil moisture tension in response to precipitation were less sensitive at the 30 than at the 15 cm depth. The adoption of conservation tillage shallow increased the amount of topsoil organic matter as compared to standard tillage. This study indicates that conservation tillage shallow is a promising practice in terms of soil quality improvement and crop productivity under highly variable Mediterranean climate conditions.
This work has been supported by Croatian Science Foundation under the project “Assessment of conservation soil tillage as advanced methods for crop production and prevention of soil de-gradation – ACTIVEsoil” (IP-2020-02-2647).
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Aguilera E., Lassaletta L., Gattinger A., and Gimeno B.S., 2013. Managing soil carbon for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Mediterranean cropping systems: A meta-analysis. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 168, 25-36.
Alaoui A., Lipiec J., and Gerke H.H., 2011. A review of the changes in the soil pore system due to soil deformation: a hydrodynamic perspective. Soil Till. Res., 115, 1-15.
Al-Kaisi M., and Lowery B., 2017. Soil Health and Intensification of Agroecosystems ([edition unavailable]). Elsevier Science,
Asmamaw D.K., 2017. A critical review of the water balance and agronomic effects of conservation tillage under rain-fed agriculture in Ethiopia. Land Degrad. Develop., 28, 843-855.
Bahadori M., and Tofighi H., 2016. Communications in soil science and plant analysis a modified Walkley-Black method based on spectrophotometric procedure a modified Walkley-Black method based on spectrophotometric. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 47, 213-220.
Bai X., Huang Y., Ren W., Coyne M., Jacinthe P.A., Tao B., Hui D., Yang J., and Matocha C., 2019. Responses of soil carbon sequestration to climate-smart agriculture practices: A meta-analysis. Glob. Change. Biol., 25, 2591…2606.
Bolinder M.A., Crotty F., Elsen A., Frąc M., Kismanyoky T., Lipiec J., Tits M., Toth Z., and Kätterer T., 2020. The effect of crop residues, cover crops, manures and nitrogen fertilization on soil organic carbon changes in agroecosystems: A synthesis of reviews. Mitig. Adapt. Strateg. Glob. Chang., 25, 929-952.
Bradford M.A., Berg B., Maynard D.S., Wieder W.R., and Wood S.A., 2016. Understanding the dominant controls on litter decomposition. J. Ecol., 104, 229-238.
Busari M.A., Kukal S.S., Kaur A., Bhatt R., and Dulazi A.A., 2015. Conservation tillage impacts on soil, crop and the environment. Int. Soil Water Conserv. Res., 3, 119-129.
Ceglar A., Croitoru A-E., Cuxart J., Djurdjevic V., Güttler I., Ivančan-Picek B, Jug D., Lakatos M., and Weidinger T., 2018. PannEx: The Pannonian Basin Experiment. Climate Services, 11, 78-85.
Colombi T., Torres L.C., Walter A. and Keller T., 2018. Feedbacks between soil penetration resistance, root architecture and water uptake limit water accessibility and crop growth: A vicious circle. Sci. Tot. Environ., 626, 1026-1035.
Dai L., Fu R., Guo X., Du Y., Zhang F., and Cao G., 2022. Soil moisture variations in response to precipitation across different vegetation types on the Northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Front. Plant Sci., 13, 854152.
Devkota M., Singh Y., Yigezu Y.A., Bashour I., Mussadek R., and Mrabet R., 2022. Chapter Five - Conservation agriculture in the drylands of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: Past trend, current opportunities, challenges and future outlook. Adv. Agron., 172, 253-305.
Dexter A.R., Czyż E.A., and Gate O.P., 2007. A method for prediction of soil penetration resistance. Soil Till. Res., 93, 412-419.
Du C., Li L., and Effah Z., 2022. Effects of straw mulching and reduced tillage on crop production and environment: A review. Water, 14, 2471.
Farmaha B.S., Sekaran U., and Franzluebbers A.J., 2022. Cover cropping and conservation tillage improve soil health in the southeastern United States. Agron. J., 114, 296-316.
Francaviglia R., Almagro M., and Vicente-Vicente J.L., 2023. Conservation agriculture and soil organic carbon: Principles, Processes, Practices and Policy Options. Soil Syst., 7, 17.
Gałęzewski L., 2020. Soil moisture – methodical aspect of agricultural research. Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, Habilitation Monography, Bydgoszcz, Poland,
Gałęzewski L., Jaskulska I., Kotwica K., and Lewandowski Ł., 2023. The dynamics of soil moisture and temperature – strip-till vs. plowing – a case study. Agronomy, 13, 83.
Gliński J., and Lipiec J., 2018. Soil Physical Conditions and Plant Roots 1st Edition, CRC Press, pp. 260, First Published 1990. Reissued 2018 by CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group ISBN 13, 978-1-351-07670-8 (ebk.).
Gonzalez-Sanchez E.J., Veroz-Gonzalez O., Conway G., Moreno-Garcia M., Kassam A., Mkomwa S., Ordoñez-Fernandez R., Triviño-Tarradas P., and Carbonell-Bojollo R., 2019. Meta-analysis on carbon sequestration through conservation agriculture in Africa. Soil Till. Res., 190, 22-30.
Heitman J.L., Horton R., Ren T., Nassar I.N., and Davis D.D., 2008. A test of coupled soil heat and water transfer prediction under transient boundary temperatures. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 72(5), 1197-1207,
Hessel R., Wyseure G., Panagea I.S., Alaoui A., Reed M.S., van Delden H., Muro M., Mills J., Oenema O., Areal F., van den Elsen E., Verzandvoort S., Assinck F, Elsen A., Lipiec J., Koutroulis A., O’Sullivan L., Bolinder M.A., Fleskens L., Kandeler E., Montanarella L., Heinen M., Toth Z., Hallama M., Cuevas J., Baartman J.E.M., Piccoli I., Dalgaard T., Stolte J., Black J.E., and Chivers C.A., 2022. Soil-improving cropping systems for sustainable and profitable farming in Europe. Land, 11, 780.
Hussain S., Hussain S., Guo R., Sarwar M., Ren X., Krstic D., Aslam Z., Zulifqar U., Rauf A., Hano C., and El-Esawi M.A., 2021. Carbon sequestration to avoid soil degradation: A review on the role of conservation tillage. Plants, 10, 2001.
Jayaraman S., and Dalal R.C., 2022. No-till farming: prospects, challenges – productivity, soil health, and ecosystem services. Soil Res., 60(5-6), 435-441.
Jug D., Đurđević B., Birkás M., Brozović B., Lipiec J., Vukadinović V., and Jug I., 2019. Effect of conservation tillage on crop productivity and nitrogen use efficiency. Soil Till. Res., 194, 104327.
Jug I., Brozović B., Ðurđević B., Wilczewski E., Vukadinović V., Stipešević B., and Jug D., 2021. Response of crops to conservation tillage and nitrogen fertilization under different agroecological conditions. Agronomy, 11, 2156.
Kang Y.H., Wang Q.G., and Liu H.J., 2005. Winter wheat canopy interception and its influence factors under sprinkler irrigation. Agric. Water Manag., 74(3), 189-199.
Kocira A., Staniak M., Tomaszewska M., Kornas R., Cymerman J., Panasiewicz K., and Lipińska H., 2020. Legume cover crops as one of the elements of strategic weed management and soil quality improvement. A Review. Agriculture, 10, 394.
Lardy J.M., DeSutter T.M., Daigh A.L.M., Meehan M.A., and Staricka J.A., 2022. Effects of soil bulk density and water content on penetration resistance. Agric. Environ. Letters, 7, e20096.
Liu H., Chang J., Tang X., and Zhang J., 2022. In situ measurement of stemflow, throughfall and canopy interception of sprinkler irrigation water in a wheat field. Agriculture, 12, 1265.
Lorite I.J., Ruiz-Ramos M., Gabaldón-Leal C., Cruz-Blanco M., Porras R., and Santos C., 2018. Water management and climate change in semiarid environments. In: Water scarcity and sustainable agriculture in semiarid environment. Elsevier, 3-40.
Lowery B., and Morrison Jr. J.E., 2002. Soil penetrometers and penetrability. In: Methods of soil analysis Part 4, Physical methods (Eds J.H. Dane, G.C. Topp). Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Book Series, 5, 363-388. Madison, WI, USA.
Martins R.N., Fagundes Portes M., Fialho e Moraes H.M., Ribeiro Furtado Junior M., Fim Rosas J.T., and de Almeida Orlando Junior W., 2021. Influence of tillage systems on soil physical properties, spectral response and yield of the bean crop. Remote Sens. Appl. Soc. Environ., 22, 100517.
Mia Md.S., Azam G., Nouraei S., and Borger C., 2023. Strategic tillage in Australian conservation agricultural systems to address soil constraints: How does it impact weed management? Weed Res. 2023, 63, 12-26.
Musto G.A., Swanepoel P.A., and Strauss J.A., 2023. Regenerative agriculture v. conservation agriculture: potential effects on soil quality, crop productivity and whole-farm economics in Mediterranean-climate regions. J. Agric. Sci., 1-11.
Piotrowska-Długosz A., and Wilczewski E., 2020. Influence of field pea (Pisum sativum L.) as catch crops cultivated for green manure on soil phosphorus and P-cycling enzyme activity. Archiv. Agron. Soil Sci., 66(11), 1570-1582.
Powlson D.S., Stirling C.M., Thierfelder C., White R.P., and Jat M.L., 2016. Does conservation agriculture deliver climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration in tropical agro-ecosystems? Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 220, 164-174.
Poeplau C., and Don A., 2015. Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils via cultivation of cover crops – A meta-analysis. Agric., Ecosys. Environ., 200, 33-41.
Ranaivoson L., Naudin K., Ripoche A., Affholder F., Rabeharisoa L., and Corbeels M., 2017. Agro-ecological functions of crop residues under conservation agriculture. A review. Agron. Sustain. Dev., 37: 26.
Xiao L., Kuhn N.J., Zhao R., and Cao L., 2021. Net effects of conservation agriculture principles on sustainable land use: A synthesis Glob Change Biol., 27: 6321-6330.
Smith R.G., Ryan M.R., and Menalled F.D., 2021. Direct and indirect impacts of weed management practices on soil quality. In: Soil management: building a stable base for agriculture (Eds J. Hatfield, T. Sauer). Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America.
Subrahmaniyan K., Veeramani P., Parthipan T., and Rajavel M., 2023. Dynamics of soil penetration resistance, moisture depletion pattern and crop productivity determined by mechanized cultivation and life saving irrigation in zero till blackgram.
Souza R., Hartzell S., Pereira Freire Ferraz A., Quintão de Almeida A., de Sousa Lima J.R., Celso Dantas Antonino A., and Soares de Souza E., 2021. Dynamics of soil penetration resistance in water-controlled environments. Soil Till. Res., 205, 104768.
Subbulakshmi S., Harisudan C., Saravanan N., and Subbian P., 2009. Conservation tillage – an ecofriendly management practices for agriculture. Res. J. Agric. Biol. Sci., 5, 1098-1103.
Škorić A., 1982. Manual for pedological research (in Croatian). University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Zagreb.
Wang K.L., Cheng G.D., and Jiang C.C., 2007. Variation of thermal diffusivity and temperature simulation of soils of vertical heterogeneity in Nagqu prefecture in the Tibetan plateau. J. Glaciol. Geocryol., 29, 470-474.
Wang Y.J., Qiao J.Y., Ji W.Y., Sun J., Huo D.X., Liu Y.P., and Chen H., 2022. Effects of crop residue managements and tillage practices on variations of soil penetration resistance in sloping farmland of Mollisols. Int. J. Agric. Biol. Eng., 15(1), 164-171.
Wang C., and Yang K., 2018. A new scheme for considering soil water-heat transport coupling based on Community Land Model: Model description and preliminary validation. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 10.
Wang Y., Yang S., Sun J., Liu Z., He X., and Qiao J., 2023. Effects of tillage and sowing methods on soil physical properties and corn plant characters. Agriculture, 13, 600.
Whalley W.R., Lipiec J., Stępniewski W., and Tardieu F., 2000. Control and measurement of the physical environment in root growth experiments. In: Root Methods, A Handbook (Eds A.L. Smit, A.G. Bengough, C. Engels, M. van Noordwijk, S. Pellerin, and S.C. van de Geijn). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 76-112.
Whalley W.R., and Bengough A.G., 2013. Soil mechanical resistance and root growth and function. In: Plant roots: the hidden half (Eds T. Beeckman and A. Eshel). CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 37.1-37.15.
Wilczewski E., Piotrowska-Długosz A., and Lemańczyk G., 2015. Properties of Alfisol and yield of spring barley as affected by catch crop. Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, 102(1), 23-30.
WRB, 2015. World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, update 2015 International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. FAO, Rome.
Zhao Y., and Si B., 2019. Thermal properties of sandy and peat soils under unfrozen and frozen conditions. Soil Till. Res., 189, 64-72.
Zhou Y., Gao X., Li Z., Yang L., and Hui X., 2018. Spatio-temporal distribution of thermal diffusivity in deep soil in Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Acta Pedol. Sin., 55, 351-359.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top