Bernese Office for Agriculture and Environment, Rütti, Zollikofen

Soil water under no-tillage and ploughing

In the long-term field trial “Oberacker” at the Inforama Ruetti in Zollikofen (Switzerland), no-tillage and conventional plough tillage have been compared on a light to medium textured gleyic cambisol since 1994. The soil physical analyses carried out within the cantonal soil monitoring program (KABO) between 1999 and 2004 provide information on structure, stability and water infiltration capacity of the soil. Additional analyses have elucidated the impact of both cropping systems on soil matrix potential and volumetric water content, and thus on the drying-out behaviour of the soil during the vegetation period.The soil water content was found to be less subject to fluctuations in the no-tillage system, particularly in the unloosened no-tilled topsoil, which is generally covered by plant residues. A smaller rate of evapotranspiration reduces soil water loss in the no-tillage system, which can be related to a higher production of dry plant matter by the crops.

To the archive