Quantifying soil displacement and tillage erosion rate by different tillage systems in dryland northwestern Iran

M. Kouselou, S. Hashemi, I. Eskandari, B. M. McKenzie, E. Karimi, A. Rezaei, M. Rahmati

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Redistribution of soil particles by the force applied by tillage is a major factor in soil degradation of agricultural land. Decreasing tillage intensity can reduce the amount of soil displaced and the distance moved and hence may reduce rates of erosion. To understand the relative importance of erosion, we tabulated machine, soil and landform properties likely to be involved. We compared soil displacement and tillage erosion rates under different systems, including mouldboard ploughing (conventional tillage), chisel ploughing (reduced tillage), stubble cultivator (minimum tillage) and no-tillage under dryland agriculture in northwestern Iran. The area was undulating and so all tillage took place along contours. Metallic tracers were buried in the soil at known locations and depths and their recovery after tillage provided a measure of soil displacement and tillage erosion. Conventional tillage along a contour line caused significantly greater soil displacement (≃57 cm) in the direction of tillage than reduced and minimum tillage systems (~20 and ~15 cm, respectively). Conventional tillage also caused more lateral soil displacement (downwards in the main direction of slope, the tillage erosion rate) than reduced or minimum tillage systems (48 cm or 152 kg/m vs. 5 and 4 cm or 16 and 7 kg/m, respectively). Although a range of factors contribute to the tillage systems used by farmers, our results suggest that under dryland conditions, similar to those found in our study area, adoption of noninversion, reduced tillage along the contour, for example by chisel ploughing can substantially limit tillage erosion relative to conventional tillage.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-59
    Number of pages12
    JournalSoil Use and Management
    Issue number1
    Early online date23 Jan 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


    • Chisel plough
    • contour tillage
    • mouldboard plough
    • stubble cultivator
    • tracers

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Soil Science
    • Pollution


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