Changes in soil physical charactersistics during transition from intensive tillage to direct seeding

Dale E. Wilkins, Mark C. Siemens, Stephan L. Albrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Converting from intensive tillage to no-till systems often increases soil strength, but the long-term impact of no-till on soil strength is not fully understood. Soil strength (evaluated with a hand-held cone penetrometer) and soil water content were evaluated in the top 30 cm of a replicated wheat/fallow rotation in a Pacific Northwest silt loam (coarse-silty, mixed, mesic, typic Haploxeroll). Soil water content was significantly lower in the no-till plots than in intensive tillage plots, which required a correction to remove the impact of soil water on penetrometer resistance. A regression equation was developed to adjust cone index values for soil water content. Comparisons of cone penetration resistance, adjusted for soil water, were made among intensive tillage, first-year no-till, and 17-year no-till. First-year no-till soil was resistant to penetration, but after 17 years of no-till the soil strength was lower and approached tilled conditions. Cone index values just below the plow layer (18 cm) increased from 2 to 3 fold the first year of no-till, but after 17 years of no-till the cone index values were not statistically different between no-till and intensive tillage below the tillage layer. This research demonstrated that silt loam soil structure improved with time during transition from intensive tillage to no-till.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-880
Number of pages4
JournalTransactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2002


  • Cone index
  • Conservation tillage
  • Long-term experiment
  • No-till
  • Penetrometer
  • Soil strength
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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