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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2018

Consolidation and surface sealing of nine harrowed Swedish soils

Sandin, Maria; Jarvis, Nicholas; Larsbo, Mats


The structure of agricultural topsoils varies considerably throughout the year due to interactions between climatic and biological factors and agricultural management practices. Tillage generally decreases soil density and increases macroporosity, but the resulting arrangement of clods and aggregates is unstable and the soil eventually reverts back to its denser pre-tillage condition. Accounting for post-tillage changes in soil structure and related hydraulic properties could greatly improve model predictions of hydrological and transport processes. Model testing, development and parameterization is, however, currently hampered by a lack of direct measurements of the changes occurring in the structural pore system. We subjected repacked samples of soil collected from the harrowed layer of nine different fine- and medium-textured Swedish mineral soils to subsequent wetting and drying cycles in the laboratory. Initial wetting and equilibration at - 30 cm pressure potential was followed by three cycles of simulated rainfall (5 mm h(-1) for 4 h) and equilibration. X-ray tomography was used to quantify changes in surface and total porosity, pore size distribution (PSD) and connectivity of structural pores.Total porosity decreased (by 2-24%) in all soils except for two clay soils where in one case the porosity increased slightly (3%) and remained unchanged in the other. In six of the soils, the PSD shifted significantly towards smaller pore sizes, and in four of these soils the connectivity of the pore network decreased. Soil surface porosity decreased most markedly in two silt loam soils (by 73% and 75%). For the nine soils changes were strongly correlated with silt content. Only weak correlations were found between the changes in total porosity and soil texture and organic carbon content. Changes in the PSD appeared to be mainly controlled by the initial structure of the sample created at the time of tillage and sample preparation.


Post-tillage structural changes; X-ray tomography; Pore network characteristics

Publicerad i

Soil and Tillage Research
2018, Volym: 181, sidor: 82-92