Economic and environmental evaluation of site-specific tillage in a maize crop in NE Italy

Bruno Basso, Luigi Sartori, Matteo Bertocco, Davide Cammarano, Edward C. Martin, Peter R. Grace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The integration of site-specific management principles and conservation tillage practices is a rather unexploited field of research despite their economical and environmental benefits. The objectives of this research were: (1) to investigate the farm economic net return of three conservation tillage practices (NIT - Non-Inversion Tillage, MT - Minimum Tillage and NT - No-Tillage) performed at variable intensity within predefined management zones; the HS - area with a consistently higher yield and LS - area with a consistently low yield, of a maize (Zea mays, L.) field in NE-Italy (2) to identify the most economically sound tillage practice for each management zone using long-term simulation results; (3) to assess the environmental impact of the three tillage systems with regards to soil organic carbon changes, CO2 losses and nitrate leaching using the SALUS model.Field trials were carried out on an 8-ha flat field, situated near Rovigo, NE Italy, on maize (Z. mays, L.). The farm gross margin was higher for NT in the year of study as well as the long-term simulated scenarios that resulted in higher yields over time. The NT tillage practices resulted in higher economic return in the both the HS and LS areas. Total soil carbon was higher in NT due to the crop residues retained on the surface. Nitrate leaching was higher in for the MT and for the LS area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Agronomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Economic analysis
  • Gross margin
  • Maize
  • Precision agriculture
  • Site-specific tillage
  • Tillage modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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