Traffic and tillage effects on runoff and soil loss on the Loess Plateau of northern China

Wang, Xiaoyan and Gao, Huanwen and Tullberg, J. N. and Li, Hongwen and Kuhn, Nikolaus and McHugh, A. D. and Li, Yuxia (2008) Traffic and tillage effects on runoff and soil loss on the Loess Plateau of northern China. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 46 (8). pp. 667-675. ISSN 0004-9573


This paper reports the outcome of 5 years of field plot runoff monitoring, 2 years of water erosion measurement, and a rainfall simulation experiment on moderately sloping farmland on the Loess plateau of north-west China. The objective was to test different conservation tillage systems compared with the control treatment, conventional mouldboard plough practice (CK). Tillage, residue cover, and compaction effects were assessed in terms of runoff and soil erosion. Results from the runoff plots showed that conservation tillage, with more residue cover, less compaction, and less soil disturbance, could substantially reduce runoff and soil erosion compared with the control. No tillage with residue cover and no compaction produced the least runoff and soil erosion. Compared with the control, it reduced runoff and soil erosion by about 40% and 80%, respectively. At the start of the experiment, residue cover appeared to be the most important factor affecting soil and water conservation, particularly when antecedent soil moisture was limited. With the accumulation of tractor wheeling effects over the course of the experiment, soil compaction appeared to become a more important factor affecting runoff. Rainfall simulation was then used to assess the effect of non-inverting surface tillage and different levels of residue cover and wheel compaction on infiltration and runoff. This confirmed that wheel compaction effects could be greater than those of tillage and residue cover, at least under the 82.5mm/h rainfall rate produced by the simulator. The wheeling effect was particularly large when the treatment was applied to wet soil, and severe even after wheeling by small tractors.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © CSIRO 2008. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2014 23:49
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2014 06:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: compaction; conservation tillage; controlled traffic; rainfall simulation; residue cover; runoff; surface tillage; water erosion
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040608 Surfacewater Hydrology
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070107 Farming Systems Research
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/SR08063

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