The effects of three tillage systems combined with different compaction and mulching treatments on soil temperature and soil thermal properties

Borresen, T.; Njos, A.

Norwegian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 4(4): 363-372


Accession: 002249599

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Soil temperature was measured in a field experiment involving three tillage systems - conventional tillage, reduced tillage and direct drilling - combined with compaction and mulching treatments. Soil temperature was measured periodically at different soil depths over two growing seasons. Thermal conductivity and other soil thermal properties were calculated. The influence of the different tillage systems on the mean soil temperature was only slight. Soil compaction with tractor wheels increasd the mean temperature at 6 and 24 cm depths. Mulching with 400 kg straw per ha reduced the mean temperature in May by 2.5, 1.9, C at 2, 6 and 24 cm depths, respectively. Direct drilling reduced the maximum and raised the minimum temperature at 2 and 6 cm depths, as compared with conventional tillage. Compaction with tractor wheels and rolling the seedbed with a Cambridge roller resulted in higher minimum and lower maximum temperatures except at 24 cm depth, where the maximum temperature was increased. Mulching lowered the maximum soil temperature in May by 7.7, 4.9 and C at 2, 6 and 24 cm depths, respectively. The minimum temperature was increased as a result of mulching by 1.3 and C at 2 and 6 cm depths, but was decreased at 24 cm depths. The thermal properties of the soil were influenced by the different tillage systems in the 2-6 cm soil layer. Soil compaction by tracter wheels and mulching caused changes in these properties down to 24 cm depth. Direct drilling increased the volumetric heat capacity, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity in the 2-6 cm soil layer as compared with the other treatments. Heat capacity, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity down to 24 cm were all higher in soil covered by plant residues than in bare soil. The compaction treatment produced the same effect, with the exception of the volumetric heat capacity in the 6-24 cm layer. Rolling after sowing in conventionally tilled soil, changed the soil thermal properties to a lesser extent than compaction by tractor wheels.