Main content area

Reducing soil erosion and agricultural chemical losses with conservation tillage

Seta, A.K., Blevins, R.L., Frye, W.W., Barfield, B.J.
Journal of environmental quality 1993 v.22 no.4 pp. 661-665
conservation tillage, no-tillage, losses from soil, water quality, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphates, atrazine, runoff, chiseling, Kentucky
As nonpoint source pollution of water becomes more evident, more concern is being focused on the effects of agricultural practices on water quality. This study evaluated the effects of conventional tillage (CT), chisel-plow tillage (CP), and no tillage (NT) on the quality of runoff water from a Maury silt loam soil (fine, mixed, mesic Typic Paleudalf) near Lexington, KY. The mean runoff rate, total runoff volume, mean sediment concentration, and total soil losses were significantly less for NT than for CP and CT. Concentration of NO3-, NH4+, and PO4(3-) in the runoff water from NT were greater than from CP or CT. Concentration of atrazine [6-chloro-N-ethyl-N'-(1-methylethyl)-1,3, 5-triazine-2,4-diamine] in the runoff water tended to be higher from CP than from NT or CT. Total losses of NO3-, NH4+, PO4(3-), and atrazine in runoff water were generally in the order CT > CP > NT. The sum of all chemicals lost was less than 3% of the total amount of each applied.