Determining soil hydraulic properties using infiltrometer techniques: An assessment of temporal variability in a long-term experiment under minimum-and no-tillage soil management

Giorgio Baiamonte, Domenico Ventrella, Mirko Castellini, Alessandro Vittorio Vonella, Michele Rinaldi

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


Conservation agriculture is increasingly accepted by farmers, but the modeling studies on agro-environmental processes that characterize these agricultural systems require accurate information on the temporal variability of the soil's main physical and hydraulic properties. Therefore, specific investigations carried out in long-term experiments can increase our knowledge on the pros and cons of different measurement techniques. In this work, the simplified falling head (SFH) technique and the Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer (BEST) procedure were applied to investigate the temporal variability of some main soil physical and hydraulic properties, including bulk density (BD), field saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs), macroporosity (Pmac), air capacity (AC), plant available water capacity (PAWC), and relative field capacity (RFC). For this purpose, a long-term experiment was selected, and the experimental information obtained was used to verify the long-term impact (fifteen years) determined by two alternative forms of soil management, minimum tillage (MT) and no tillage (NT), for the cultivation of durum wheat. The main results of the comparison between MT and NT showed: (i) A comparable temporal variability in Kfs values when SFH was considered, given that in 75% of considered cases, the same result (i.e., significant or not significant) was obtained; (ii) a comparable temporal variability in Kfs values under MT (but not under NT) when both SFH and BEST were used, as a result of a possible Kfs, SFH overestimation under NT; (iii) differences in Kfs estimations by a factor of 6 or 7 (Kfs, SFH > Kfs, BEST) when comparable soil conditions (moisture and soil density) were considered; (iv) a comparable temporal variability when other soil indicators (BD, Pmac, AC, PAWC, and RFC) were simultaneously considered. After about fifteen years of field experiments characterized by continuous soil management and conducted with the methodological rigor typical of experimental farms, the SFH-and BEST-derived experimental information showed a substantial equivalence between MT and NT for the fine-textured soil investigated.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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