Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-129
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-129

  30 Nov 2021

30 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

The effect of tillage depth and traffic management on soil properties and root development during two growth stages of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

David Hobson1, Mary Harty1, Saoirse Tracy1, and Kevin McDonnell1,2 David Hobson et al.
  • 1School of Agriculture and Food science, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
  • 2Biosystems Engineering Ltd, NovaUCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Abstract. The management of agricultural soils during crop establishment can affect root development by changes to soil structure. This paper assesses the influence of tillage depth (250 mm, 100 mm & zero) and traffic management (conventional tyre pressure, low tyre pressure & no traffic) on wheat root system architecture during winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) tillering and flowering growth stages (GS) on a long-term tillage trial site. The study revealed that zero-tillage systems increased crop yield through significantly greater root biomass, root length density and deeper seminal rooting analysed using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT). In general, conventional pressure trafficking had a significant negative influence on crop yield, root development, bulk density and total soil porosity of deep and shallow tillage conventional pressure systems compared no traffic zero and deep tillage systems. Visual improvements in soil structure under zero tillage may have improved crop rooting in zero tillage treatments through vertical pore fissures (biopores), enhancing water uptake during the crop flowering period. This study highlights the implications of soil structural damage on root system architecture created by compaction in crop production. The constricted root systems found in conventional pressure shallow tillage, zero and deep tillage trafficked regimes emphasizes the importance of using technology to improve soil management and reduce the trafficked areas of agricultural fields.

David Hobson et al.

Status: open (until 27 Feb 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-129', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Dec 2021 reply

David Hobson et al.

David Hobson et al.

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Short summary
Tillage practice and traffic management have significant implications on root architecture, plant growth and ultimately crop yield. Soil cores were extracted from a long term field trial to measure the relationship between soil physical properties and root growth. Here, we found that no traffic and low tyre pressure methods significantly increased rooting properties and crop yield using zero tillage methods compared to conventionally managed deep tillage treatments with high tyre pressures.