Conservation tillage assessment for wheat cropping in the central Iran: soil properties, irrigation water use efficiency and crop yield aspects (case study: Isfahan Province)
Isfahan province in the center of Iran is mostly arid and semi-arid that causes some limitation in grain production. Recently, a contrast between conventional tillage and contemporary conservation tillage systems such as no-tillage and reduced tillage exists. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the effect of different tillage methods on soil properties, irrigation water use efficiency and crop yield of irrigated wheat followed by corn. Field experiment was conducted as a randomized complete block design with three treatments and three replications. Treatments consisted of no-tillage (NT), reduced tillage (RT) and conventional tillage (CT). Results showed significant effects of tillage method on seed germination and plant density but no difference was observed for crop yield. In terms of moisture content and also soil electrical conductivity tillage methods had no significant difference. No-tillage has lowest residue turnover and also carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N). Minimum and maximum irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) respectively was found for reduced and conventional tillage, although conventional tillage and no-tillage had no significant difference. Generally, performance of conservation methods was beyond the common opinion and these methods consequently can be suitable alternative for conventional method, of course by consideration to some modification.