Conservation tillage is a new technology for increasing crop yield in arid areas. The objective of this field experiment was to compare the effects of four tillage measurements （no-till, stalk-mulching, film-mulching and conventional tillage） on soil physical properties and crop yield in the sandy soil region of northern Jingbian County, Shaanxi Province during 2004 to 2007. A completely randomized design was used to study field location. The results showed that at early spring planting, soil temperatures were 0.1℃ lower in the stalk-mulching and no-till treatments compare with to the conventional tillage treatment. Soil temperatures were the highest under film mulch in corn grouing season. There was no significant difference in soil bulk density among the treatments before planting; however, there was a significant difference among the treatments after harvest. Soil bulk density in the 0-20 cm layer was 1.65% lower in the no-tillage treatment compared with conventional tillage; however, the bulk density in the 20-40 cm layer was 1.8% higher in the no-tillage treatment compared with conventional tillage. Soil water content was increased under the three conservation tillage in the order stalk-mulching〉 film-mulching〉no-till〉 conventional tillage. Water use efficiency increased by 8% in the stalk-mulching treatment, 22.0% in the film mulch treatment, and 13.3% in the no-till treatment compared with the conventional tillage treatment. Similarly, crop yield was 4.44% higher in the stalk-mulching treatment, 13.14% higher in the film mulch treatment, and 19.26% higher in the no-till treatment compared with the conventional tillage treatment. The conclusion is that conservation tillage method can improve soil physical properties and increase crop yield, and it can be implemented in the southern part of Mu Us desert.
Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering
conservation tillage, soil physical property, crop yield, Mu Us Sand Land