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The effects of tillage upon snow cover and spring soil water

, : The effects of tillage upon snow cover and spring soil water. Canadian Agricultural Engineering 32(1): 25-32

Snow management for agricultural purposes includes trapping snow and improving infiltration into frozen soil. The infiltration capacity of both frozen and unfrozen soils is influenced by the physical state of the soil surface. The effects of after-harvest tillage upon the snow cover, and soil water from fall through spring snowmelt to seeding were examined during two overwinter periods 1 November to 21 March of 1985-1986 and 1986-1987. Four tillage treatments (summerfallow, standing stubble, disced stubble, and chiselled stubble) were established on a Black Chernozem south of Edmonton, Alberta. Snow depths on the stubble and chiselled plots were significantly greater (P .ltoreq. 0.05) than those on the disced and fallow plots. The chiselled and stubble treatments had significantly greater overwinter soil water grains than did the disced and fallow treatments in the top 40 cm. Stubble gained the most (or lost the least) soil water from fall to seeding, with the chiselled treatment being second. For wet fall conditions, the soil water content for fallow at spring seeding was significantly greater than those for the other treatments only below 65 cm. The stubble and chiselled treatment water contents were significantly higher or equivalent than those in the disced treatment at postmelt.

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