Submitted to: Subtropical Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Conservation tillage can reduce wind and water erosion while increasing water infiltration rates of soil. There is currently very little information on the effects of tillage in subtropical, semiarid environments on soil organic matter, pH, cation exchange capacity or plant nutrient cycling within the rooting profile. The objectives of this study were 1) to determine the effect of no-tillage, ridge-tillage, conventional moldboard tillage systems on soil organic matter content, soil pH, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and cation exchange capacity (CEC) and 2) provide farmers with guidelines and information for implementing conservation tillage. After only six years, the organic matter of the top 5 cm of soil was almost doubled with no-tillage (1.16% vs 0.60%) compared with conventional moldboard tillage in a semiarid, subtropical south Texas environment. Tillage was found to have little effect on soil pH, sodium, magnesium, calcium or cation exchange capacity, but no-tillage and ridge- till did have greater concentrations of potassium near the surface (0-5 cm layer) than the conventional moldboard tillage treatment (906 vs 681 ppm). The plant nutrient medium within the top one meter was affected by tillage. Soil organic matter and potassium increased near the surface in the no-tillage compared with conventional moldboard tillage.