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Soil physical-mechanical properties evaluation in different tillage systems


In environments characterized by steep slopes or arranged in terraces, among the shallow tillage systems, rototilling is extensively used. However, the effect of the repeated use of ro-totilling has a considerable influence on soil characteristics; it appears finely powdered, soft and without structure. In order to limit these inconveniences, an innovative self-propelled machine equipped with working tools as a spade, to be used in steep slopes or arranged in terraces areas, was designed by the Mechanics Section of the Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, in cooperation with Agrotec company, Padua, Italy. The aim of this study is to compare the effects of three machines for shallow tillage: a chisel plough (CP), a rototilling (RT) and a spading machine (SM) on penetration resistance in semi-arid environments of the Mediterranean basin. No tillage was also included. Penetration resistance (PR) was surveyed for all the treatments to a depth of 300 mm with an electronic dynamometer. The study was carried out in 2011-201. The treatments consisted in the exe-cution of a shallow tillage to a depth of 150 mm. SP treatment allowed us to obtain PR lower values throughout the tillage profile than RT, CP and NT. It follows that the type of machine used influences soil PR, and then the soil water storage capacity, key factor for the agricultural productions in semi-arid environments as in Sicily.