There is no practical tradition of ridge tillage in Hungary, but attention has been drawn to this method by the fact that the literature clearly defines it as a soil-protective system for use in sustainable crop production. Another point of interest is the possibility of applying the method on slopes. Ridge tillage can be regarded as a special version of the seedbeds perpendicular to the slope, used for wide-rowed crops on sloping sites requiring protection. Experiments were set up in Gödöllo in 1995 in order to determine whether the method could be adapted for small fields on brown forest soil under conditions where soil protection is a prerequirement for crop protection according to EU regulations. The effect of traditional and ridge tillage systems on soil status, yield and weed cover was studied in a comparative experiment. The traditional system involved autumn ploughing and two phases of seedbed preparation. The ridges were formed on a ploughed area perpendicularly to a 3 % slope, with a width of 440 mm and an interrow distance of 460 mm. The height of the ridges during the vegetation period was 200-220 mm. The ridges were treated as described in the literature using simple machinery adapted for the purpose. Maize was grown in the experiments without rotation. The most important conclusion reached in the first three years was that the soil status required by maize could be achieved by either traditional or ridge tillage, but that this status could be maintained throughout the vegetation period in the ridges. In the case of ridge tillage three soil environments evolve: the ridge itself, which is free of stubble residues, and the interrows containing stubble residues, which may be compacted or non-compacted. In the third year of the experiment the soil penetration resistance of the ridges and non-compacted interrows was ≤1.0 MPa in the 0-20 cm layer and 1.0-2.0 MPa in the 20-40 cm layer. Even that of the compacted interrows was less than the critical 3.0 MPa value. The trends in soil moisture content over the whole year were similar in the two tillage systems, but in spring a considerable difference was observed. The soil was more moist in the interrows covered with stubble residues, drier at the top of the ridge, due to its favourable heat cycle, and on the sides, and driest in the traditionally tilled treatment. This latter proved to be unsuitable for the retention of rainwater, so little water seeped into the soil. The yields achieved with ridge tillage were 10% higher over a three-year average than in the traditional tillage treatment. However, this difference was not significant in any of the years. It should be noted that the soil-protective effect of the method is of greater importance at the given growing site than an increase in yield. The effect of erosion on the area used for ridge tillage was 85 % less than on traditionally tilled areas. Neither of the tillage systems proved to be disadvantageous as regards weed cover. Annual dicotyledonous late summer weeds occurred in the greatest numbers on the experimental areas, but the weed cover was only significant in the first year, being 33 % in the traditional system and 37 % in the ridge tillage system. Integrated weed control fits in well with the ridge tillage system, consisting of correctly-timed interrow cultivation and a single treatment with post-emergent herbicide. The experiments will be continued in the areas indicated. It can be concluded from the first three years of results that the ridge tillage system can be well adapted to sloping growing sites in Hungary provided the technology is strictly adhered to. It will be of importance in widening the range of soil-protective cultivation systems available.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science