Effect of tillage systems on the quality of different soil types


  • Nora Pollakova Slovak University of Agriculture
  • Elżbieta Wójcik-Gront Department of Biometry, Institute of Agriculture, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland
  • Jerzy Jonczak Department of Soil Environment Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland
  • Martin Juriga Institute of Agronomic Sciences, FAFR, Slovak University of Agriculture, Slovakia


available water capacity, air-filled porosity, bulk density, soil organic matter, tillage technology


The tillage technology used can influence the soil quality positively or negatively. The aim of this work was to compare the impact of reduced (RT) and conventional (CT) tillage technologies on selected physical and chemical properties of Mollic Fluvisol, Chernozem, and Haplic Luvisol. Differences in the properties of soils treated with RT and CT were investigated at fifteen sites to a depth of 40 cm. The results showed that in Mollic Fluvisol, which naturally has higher soil organic matter (SOM) content, changing the tillage system from CT to RT caused minimal negative changes in soil properties, including a significant increase in bulk density (rd), a decrease in available water capacity (QP) and hot water soluble carbon (CHWL); in contrast, the change in tillage system was positively reflected in a statistically significant increase in total organic carbon (Cox) and degree of humification. For Chernozem and Haplic Luvisol, which naturally have medium to low SOM content, changing tillage from CT to RT resulted in a significant decrease in CHWL content and degree of humification. All physical parameters assessed were significantly deteriorated (there was an increase in rd and wilting point, a significant decrease in air-filled porosity and QP. There was no significant improvement in any of the soil properties studied. It can be concluded that the CT system is more suitable for Chernozem and Haplic Luvisol tillage than the RT system. In Mollic Fluvisol, the RT system is more or less equally suitable for tillage as the CT system.

Author Biographies

  • Elżbieta Wójcik-Gront, Department of Biometry, Institute of Agriculture, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland

    Department of Biometry, Institute of Agriculture, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland

  • Jerzy Jonczak , Department of Soil Environment Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland

    Department of Soil Environment Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland

  • Martin Juriga, Institute of Agronomic Sciences, FAFR, Slovak University of Agriculture, Slovakia

    Institute of Agronomic Sciences, FAFR, Slovak University of Agriculture, Slovakia


Batjes, N. H. (1996). Total carbon and nitrogen in the soils of the world. European Journal of Soil Science, 47, 151–163.

Bayer, C. et al. (2002). Stocks and humification degree of organic matter fractions as affected by no-tillage on a subtropical soil. Plant and Soil, 238, 133–140. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014284329618

Bertolino, A. V. F. A. et al. (2010). Effects of plough pan development on surface hydrology and on soil physical properties in Southeastern Brazilian plateau. Journal of Hydrology, 393, 94–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.07.038

Du, Z. et al. (2017). The effect of no-till on organic C storage in Chinese soils should not be overemphasized: A meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 236, 1–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.11.007

Fernandes, M. M. H. et al. (2023). Soil structure under tillage systems with and without cultivation in the off-season. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 342, 108237 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2022.108237

Fulajtár, E. (2006). Fyzikálne vlastnosti pôdy [Physical properties of soil]. Bratislava: Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute.

Chen, H. et al. (2018). Reduced tillage and increased residue retention increase enzyme activity and carbon and nitrogen concentrations in soil particle size fractions in a long-term field experiment on Loess Plateau in China. Soil and Tillage Research, 194, 104296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.104296

Halmo, S. 2017. Účinok pôdoochranných a konvenčných technológií obrábania pôdy na vybrané fyzikálne, chemické a biologické vlastnosti pôdy rôznych regiónov Slovenska: dizertačná práca [The effect of soil conservation and conventional tillage technologies on selected physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in different regions of Slovakia: thesis]. Nitra: Slovak University of Agriculture.

Hazarika, S. et al. (2009). Effect of tillage system and straw management on organic matter dynamics. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 29, 525–533. https://doi.org/10.1051/agro/2009024

Hrivňáková, K. et al. (2011). Jednotné pracovné postupy rozborov pôd [Obligatory methods of soil analyses]. Bratislava: Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute.

Jakab, G. et al. (2023). Soil organic matter gain by reduced tillage intensity: Storage, pools, and chemical composition. Soil and Tillage Research, 226, 105584. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2022.105584

Jha, P. et al. (2012). Soil and residue carbon mineralization as affected by soil aggregate size. Soil and Tillage Research, 121, 57–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2012.01.018

Kovaříček, P. et al. (2008). Measurement of water infiltration in soil using the rain simulation method. Research in Agricultural Engineering, 54(3), 123–129. 10.17221/711-RAE

Körchens, M., & Schulz, E. (1999). Die organische bodensubstanz – dynamik – reproduction – ökonomisch und ökologisch begrűndete richtwerte [Soil organic matter – Dynamics – Reproduction – Economically and ecologically justified guideline values]. UFZ Report 13, Liepizg-Halle: Uweltforschfungszentrum.

Kotorová, D. et al. (2018). The long-term different tillage and its effect on physical properties of heavy soils. Acta fytotechnica et zootechnica, 21(3), 100–107. http://www.acta.fapz.uniag.sk

Kováčik, P., & Ryant, P. (2019). Agrochémia (princípy a prax) [Agrochemistry (principles and practice]. Nitra: Slovak University of Agriculture.

Li, Y. et al. (2019). Residue retention and minimum tillage improve physical environment of the soil in croplands: A global meta-analysis. Soil and Tillage Research, 94, 104292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.06.009

Loginow, W. et al. (1993). The method for determining susceptibility of soil organic matter to oxidation. Problem-solving subsites of agricultural science, 411, 207–212.

Lützow, M. V. et al. (2002). Indications for SOM quality in soils under different management. Geoderma, 105(3–4), 243–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7061(01)00106-9

Polláková, N., Šimanský, V., & Jonczak, J. (2017). Characteristics of physical properties in soil profiles under selected introduced trees in the Nature Reserve Arboretum Mlyňany, Slovakia. Folia Oecologica, 44(2), 78–86. https://ife.sk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/foecol-2017-0003-1.pdf

Polláková, N. et al. (2020). Effects of conventional and reduced tillage technologies on basic soil chemical properties. Journal of Elementology, 25(3), 1101–1114. https://doi.org/10.5601/jelem.2020.25.2.1933

Saha, R., & Ghosh, P. K. (2013). Soil Organic Carbon Stock, Moisture Availability and Crop Yield as Influenced by Residue Management and Tillage Practices in Maize-Mustard Cropping System Under Hill Agro-Ecosystem. Natl. Acad. Sci. Lett., 36 (5), 461–468. Retrieved July 24, 2023 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s400009-013-0158-7

Sithole, N. J., Magwaza, L. S., & Thibaud, G. R. (2019). Long-term impact of no-till conservation agriculture and N-fertilizer on soil aggregate stability, infiltration and distribution of C in different size fractions. Soil and Tillage Research, 190, 147–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.03.004

Strudley, M. W., Green, T. R., & Ascough, J. C. (2008). Tillage effects on soil hydraulic properties in space and time: state of the science. Soil and Tillage Research, 99(1), 4–48. 10.1016/j.still.2008.01.007

Šimanský, V. (2016). Changes in soil organic matter parameters during the period of 18 years under different soil management practices. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62(4), 149–154. https://doi.org/10.1515/agri-2016-0015

Šimanský, V. (2017). Is the period of 18 years sufficient for an evaluation of changes in soil organic carbon under a variety of different soil management practices? Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 48(1), 37–42. 10.1080/00103624.2016.1253717

Šimanský, V., & Bajčan, D. (2014). The stability of soil aggregates and their ability of carbon sequestration. Soil and Water Research, 9(3), 111–118. https://www.agriculturejournals.cz/pdfs/swr/2014/03/03.pdf

Šimanský, V. et al. (2016). Which soil tillage is better in terms of the soil organic matter and soil structure changes? Journal of Central European Agriculture, 17(2), 391–401. http://dx.doi.org/10.5513/JCEA01/17.2.1720

Šoltysová, B., & Danilovič, M. (2011). Tillage in relation to distribution of nutrients and organic carbon in the soil. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 57(1), 21–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/v10207-011-0003-2

Špánik, F. et al. (2012). Praktická biometeorológia [Practical biometeorology]. Nitra: Slovak University of Agriculture. Špánik F., Šiška B., Tomlain J., Horák J., Čimo J.

Tindsall, J. M., & Oades, J. M. (1982). Organic matter and water-stable aggregates in soils. European Journal of Soil Science, 33, 141–163. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.1982.tb01755.x

Vach, M., Hlisnikovský, L., & Javůrek, M. (2018). The effect of different tillage methods on erosion. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 64(1), 28–34. https://doi.org/10.2478/agri-2018-0003

WRB. (2006). World reference base for soil resources 2006. Rome: FAO.

Zaujec, A. et al. (2009). Pedológia a základy geológie [Pedology and the basics of geology]. Nitra: Slovak University of Agriculture.






Plant Science