Impact of cultivation method on the soil properties in cereal production
¹Estonian Crop Research Institute, J.Aamisepa 1, EE48309 Jõgeva, Jõgeva Vald, Estonia
²Agricultural Research Centre, Teaduse 4/6, EE75501 Saku, Estonia
³Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 1, EE51014 Tartu 4, Estonia
The aim of present paper is to give an overview about results collected in 2012–2014 related to impact of cultivation method on the cereal field soil properties. Experiments were conducted on Estonian farmers’ production fields to compare no-till and plough-based tillage practices. Studied properties were among others soil bulk density, structure, water content, microbial activity and weeds seeds content.
The bulk density, gravimetric moisture content and structure of soil from 0–10, 10–20 and 20–30 cm layers were evaluated. For microbial activity an enzyme dehydrogenase, which occurs in all viable microbial cells, was determined in soil layers 0–10 and 10–20 cm. Soil samples were taken from 0–25 cm layer to determine weed seeds content. Seeds were extracted from the soil using a flotation-method. The seeds were counted and species identified under the microscope.
The cultivation method has significant impact on some soil properties and insignificant to other. Cultivation method had no significant impact on ratio of agronomically preferred soil particles (2–4.75 mm). No-tilled fields soil bulk density had no differences between layers except 0–10 layer in Pärnumaa (p < 0.05). Soil bulk density differences (p < 0.05) between layers occurred in Soth-Viljandimaa and Pärnumaa tilled soils, in which plough pan in layer 20–30 cm was noticeable.
In average the abundance of weeds seeds was higher on no-tilled fields, compared to tillage accordingly 60,975 and 29,250 weed seeds m-2 (p < 0.003). Results showed higher soil dehydrogenase activity in the no-tilled soils layer 0–10 cm than in 10–20 cm layer (p < 0.05). In the tillage the dehydrogenase activity had no significant difference between soil layers.