In the semi-arid tropics (SAT),33% areas are occupied by Alfisols and related
soils. In SAT these soils have low structural stability and thereby tend to
form seal and crusts at the surface. Due to this a large proportion of the rain
that falls on Alfisols during the early part of the rainy season,is normally lost as runoff thus causing high soil
loss as well as moisture stress to crops. Two tillage studies were conducted
first at plot scale (320 m2) during 1991-95 and second at small
watershed scale (1.45 ha) during 2007-10,at ICRISAT research station,Hyderabad,India. These studies were
conducted to find out whether the problem of excessive runoff and soil loss
during the early part of the rainy season can be controlled by various
inter-row tillage systems in addition to normal intercultivation by breaking
the crust or seal and thereby improving infiltration and soil moisture and reducing
runoff and soil loss. The observations on rainfall,runoff,soil moisture,soil loss,soil surface roughness and crop yields were collected from both the studies.
Results from these studies have shown that inter-row tillage in addition to
normal intercultivation is found effective in controlling early season runoff
and soil loss and increasing crop yields. The additional tillage systems are
found most effective during low and medium rainfall years and not so much
during high rainfall years. The additional tillage with shoe cultivators,which creates rough soil surface (11 mm depression
storage),is found most effective in
increasing crop yields and reducing runoff and soil loss. The additional
tillage with blade harrow which generates smooth soil surface is relatively
less effective. In most rainfall conditions,the normal intercultivation with one additional tillage is found
adequate for controlling early season runoff and improving soil moisture and
Cite this paper
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