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Forskningsartikel2003Vetenskapligt granskad

Influence of spring preparation date and soil water content on seedbed physical conditions of a clayey soil in Sweden

de Toro A, Arvidsson J


Secondary tillage performed under inadequate soil water contents usually leads to a poor seedbed. Under normal Swedish weather conditions, clayey soils ploughed during autumn form a very dry top layer in spring, which acts as an evaporation barrier so that deeper layers remain wet. Thus, the conventional approach considering soil workability in relation to a single value of soil water content is difficult to apply. Hence, a field experiment was carried out to study the effect of seedbed preparation date, the associated soil water contents and traffic consequences on the physical properties of a spring seedbed. The field was autumn ploughed and the experiment started as soon as the field was trafficable after winter thawing. The seedbed preparation consisted of three harrowing operations on plots 8 m x 8 m (three replications) with a spring tined harrow and a tractor mounted with dual lyres and was performed on 10 occasions from the beginning of April to the middle of May. With the exception of some short periods after rain, the soil had a clear water stratification during the experiment, with a very dry superficial layer (5-20 mm thick) contrasting to water contents over 300 g kg(-1) from only 40 mm depth. After the harrowing operation, the seedbed aggregate fraction less than 2 mm increased from about 40% at the beginning of April to about 60% for the last four treatments in May. Contributing factors to the rise were attributed to the lower water contents of the top layer (<40 mm) and the drying-wetting and freezing-thawing cycles that occurred in the surface layer during April. There were no significant differences in bulk density after harrowing between the treatments but an increase in penetration resistance up to a depth of 180 mm, in the harrowed plots was statistically significant (P < 0.001). In the non-harrowed soil, penetration resistance also increased, including in those soil layers where water contents kept nearly constant. In conclusion, the seedbed preparation dates had only a minor effect on soil compaction, as measured by bulk density and penetration resistance, due to the slow drying beneath the dry top layer. The fraction of fine aggregates in the seedbed increased with time. Thus, the optimal time for seedbed preparation depended mainly on soil friability and not on the risk of compaction. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved


Tillage; Seedbed; Seedbed properties; Aggregates; Soil water; Soil water potential; Compaction; Sweden

Publicerad i

Soil and Tillage Research
2003, Volym: 70, nummer: 2, sidor: 141-151

      SLU författare

      • Arvidsson, Johan

        • Institutionen för markvetenskap, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

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