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A New Reservoir Tillage System for Crop Production in Semiarid Areas

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  032315,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14035) @2003
Authors:   Eusebio Ventura, Jr., L. Darrell Norton, Keith Ward, Manuel López-Bautista, Alfredo Tapia-Naranjo
Keywords:   Reservoir Tillage System, Water harvesting, Soil and Water Conservation

Many arid or semiarid countries experience significant problems with water for rainfed crop production. Semiarid regions may receive sufficient rainwater to support crops, but it is distributed so unevenly in time and/or space that rainfed agriculture is not always successful. Developing technologies to increase agricultural water use efficiency through water harvesting and conservation is a need. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a new integrated Reservoir Tillage System (RTS) for crop production in semiarid areas. The system included the design of a horizontalcut subsoiler, a modified row planter and a roller formed with plastic wheels to improve soil tilth and create minireservoirs on the soil surface for In situ rainwater harvesting. The roller was tested in laboratory conditions for soil and water conservation using simulated rainfall. The new RTS was implemented in field during the 2002 rainy season at three locations in semiarid Central Mexico. Five different varieties of common beans were planted. A control plot was planted according to the farmers conventional procedures. The roller was able to reduce soil erosion and runoff and increase infiltration significantly as compared to the control in the laboratory experiments. In the field, a more uniform seedling emergence and greater standing population was observed in the three sites where the system was implemented. Soil water content was greater in the new RTS than the conventional system, which resulted in greater crop growth and increments of yields in the average of 100% for the different beans varieties.

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