Rainfall infiltration and runoff from an Alfisol in semi-arid tropical India. II. Tilled systems uri icon


  • Daily runoff data from a field experiment conducted at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad, India, were analysed to quantify the benefits of shallow tillage to a depth of 10 cm and deep tillage to a depth of 20 cm and application of amendments (farmyard manure at 15 Mg/ha per year and rice straw (Oryza sativa) at 5 Mg/ha per year) on Alfisols, using a no-till, unamended system as a control. The no-till system is discussed in detail in Part I. Runoff from tilled plots declined sharply after tillage operation and reverted back to that from an untilled plot after a few storms totalling ~150 mm of rainfall. The effective period of tillage varied from 5 days in 1989, when a single storm of 115 mm rain occurred 5 days after tillage, to ~60 days during 1993 and 1994. Quantitative rainfall-runoff relationships were developed by dividing 633 rainfall-runoff events over 6 years into three groups, depending on time of occurrence: fallow period, from time of tillage operation to receipt of 150 mm of rain, and the remaining events during the cropping period after 150 mm of rain to crop harvest. More than 73% of the variation in runoff from bare and farmyard manure plots could be explained by either rainfall amount or by the product of rainfall amount and 30 min intensity. In addition, soil cover was important during the fallow period. Using the 5 min rainfall intensities, runoff of tilled systems were reduced from 35 to 10% of rainfall by adding straw. The implication is that organic amendments (such as straw or farmyard manure, if available) offer a sustainable way for Alfisols to maintain a high infiltration rate and, thereby, both reduce runoff and increase the amount of water available for crop production

publication date

  • 1998