Tillage system regulates the soil moisture tension, penetration resistance and temperature responses to the temporal variability of precipitation during the growing season
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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.
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