Journal of environmental quality vol:34 issue:1 pages:312-324
Tillage erosion had been identified as a major process of soil redistribution on sloping arable land. The objectives of our study were to investigate the extent of tillage erosion and its effect on soil quality and productivity under Danish conditions. Soil samples were collected to a 0.45-m depth on a regular grid from a 1.9-ha site and analyzed for Cs-137 inventories, as a measure of soil redistribution, soil texture, soil organic carbon (SOC) contents, and phosphorus (P) contents. Grain yield was determined at the same sampling points. Substantial soil redistribution had occurred during the past decades, mainly due to tillage. Average tillage erosion rates of 2.7 kg m(-2) yr(-1) occurred on the shoulderslopes, while deposition amounted to 1.2 kg m(-2) yr(-1) on foot- and toeslopes. The pattern of soil redistribution could not be explained by water erosion. Soil organic carbon and P contents in soil profiles increased from the shoulder- toward the toeslopes. Tillage translocation rates were strongly correlated with SOC contents, A-horizon depth, and P contents. Thus, tillage erosion had led to truncated soils on shoulderslopes and deep, colluvial soils on the foot- and toeslopes, substantially affecting within-field variability of soil properties. We concluded that tillage erosion has important implications for SOC dynamics on hummocky land and increases the risk for nutrient losses by overland flow and leaching. Despite the occurrence of deep soils across the study area, evidence suggested that crop productivity was affected by tillage-induced soil redistribution. However, tillage erosion effects on crop yield were confounded by topography-yield relationships.