Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Print version ISSN 0100-0683
GARCIA, Sandra Maria and RIGHES, Afranio Almir. Vertical Mulching and water management in no tillage system. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2008, vol.32, n.2, pp. 833-842. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832008000200037.
Intensive soil mobilization in the conventional tillage system has caused soil structure degradation, soil compaction below the arable layer, and decreased macroporosity. These changes resulted in reduced soil water infiltration rate and increased runoff, soil erosion and sedimentation in rivers and reservoirs. In the no tillage system the water erosion from the soil surface is practically controlled, and the terraces were eliminated by the farmers. Nevertheless, the surface flow is higher than it was in the conventional tillage system. With the objective of evaluating the hydrological behavior of vertical mulching in no tillage systems as related to runoff, this study was developed in the growing seasons of 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 on a Red Latosol (Oxisol) in the Planalto Médio region of Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. A field experiment was installed using plots without vertical mulching, with vertical mulching at every 10 m and with vertical mulching at every 5 m. It was used a randomized block design with three replications. Leveled furrows of vertical mulching, perpendicular to the soil slope (0.08 m wide by 0.38 m deep) were dug and filled with straw compacted enough to stabilize the furrow sides. Rainfall intensities of 70 and 106 mm h-1 were simulated on soybean and wheat to determine runoff, soil water infiltration rate, and nutrient and organic carbon concentration in the runoff. The results showed that vertical mulching in no tillage significantly reduces surface runoff and increases the water infiltration rate into the soil. It also reduces the total nutrient and organic carbon losses due to the reduction of water runoff.
Keywords : runoff; water infiltration; erosion; surface flow; nutrient losses.