23 Jan 2023
23 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Horizontal ridging with mulching as the optimal tillage practice to reduce surface runoff and erosion in a Mollisol hillslope

Yucheng Wang1,, Dayong Guo2,, Zheng Li1, Wuliang Shi1, Bin Li1, Liyuan Hou1, Yi Zhang1, Jinhu Cui1, Ning Cao1, and Yubin Zhang1 Yucheng Wang et al.
  • 1College of Plant Science, Jilin University, Changchun, China
  • 2Agricultural College, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Soil erosion features and ideal tillage practices are not very clear at the crop seedling stage in Chinese Mollisols. Simulated rainfall experiments were conducted at the rainfall intensities of 50 and 100 mm h-1 to investigate the differences in soil erosion of a 5° hillslope during the maize seedling stage between conservation and conventional tillage measures, including cornstalk mulching (Cm), horizontal ridging (Hr), horizontal ridging + mulching (Hr+Cm), vertical ridging + mulching (Vr+Cm), flat-tillage (CK), and vertical ridging (Vr). The results demonstrated that crops could remit soil erosion at the seedling stage by reducing the kinetic energy and changing the distribution of raindrops. The conservation tillage measures significantly alleviated total runoff (11.7 %–100 %) and sediment yield (71.1 %–100 %), postponed runoff-yielding time (85 s–26.1 min), decreased runoff velocity (71.5 %–96.7 %), and reduced runoff and soil loss rate, compared to the conventional tillage measures. Practices with mulching showed better performance than Hr. Mulching reduced sediment concentration (~70.6 %–100 %) by decreasing runoff velocity and soil particle filtration in a manner similar to buffer strips. The contour ridge ruptured earlier at 100 mm h-1 than at 50 mm h-1 and changed the characteristics of the soil erosion by providing a larger sediment source to the surface flow. Runoff strength, rather than soil erodibility, was the key factor affecting soil erosion. Decreasing runoff velocity was more important than controlling runoff amount. The Hr + Cm treatment exhibited the lowest soil erosion and is, thus, is recommended for adoption at the corn seedling stage in sloping farmlands.

Yucheng Wang et al.

Status: open (until 06 Mar 2023)

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Yucheng Wang et al.


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Short summary
1. Conservation tillage significantly prevents soil loss in spring maize seedling stage. 2. Horizontal ridge rupture caused more runoff and soil loss even with cornstalks mulching. 3. Runoff strength, rather than soil erodibility, was the key factor for soil erosion. 4. Receding runoff velocity, rather than amount, was more effective to control soil loss. 5. Horizontal ridging with mulching is recommended to conserve soil and water.