Tillage systems and stubble management in a Mediterranean-type environment in relation to crop yield and soil moisture.
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The effect of tillage and crop rotations can only be seen over many crop years. Crop yield and soil results are evaluated from two long-term trials, established in 1978-79 and 1985-86 to investigate various forms of tillage and the timing of such operations in various wheat (Triticum aestivum)-based rotations on a Calcixcrollic Xerochrept in northern Syria. In a tillage systems trial involving two wheat-legume-watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) rotations, deep tillage showed no advantage over a shallow sweep-tillage system, either for soil moisture storage or yield increase of any crop. The zero-till system suited legume crops but gave lower productivity in wheat due to a build up of grassy weeds, and was nor suitable for watermelon. Minimum tillage, with its higher energy-use efficiency and yield levels equal to or even slightly above those of deep-tillage systems, appears promising for the lowland areas of West Asia and North Africa. In a tillage timing trial, wheat in a wheat-lentil (Lens culinaris) rotation yielded best after conventional deep disc-plough tillage, but lentil yields were higher in a zero-till system.
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