Tillage effects on subsurface drainage

Toshitsugu Moroizumi, Haruhiko Horino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Tillage near the soil surface may greatly influence drainage discharge and pressure head values in the subsurface zone. In this study, a controlled comparative experiment was conducted in the field under natural weather conditions, using a tilled and an untilled column, to evaluate the effects of tillage on subsurface drainage discharge and pressure head values. There were no significant differences between the two columns in subsurface drainage before tillage treatment before the study, as checked by a preliminary experiment. After tilling one column of the two columns, cumulative subsurface drainage discharge was larger and occurred earlier for the tilled column than for the untilled column. The measured drainage discharge and pressure head values were evaluated using the water movement model, HYDRUS version 6.0, which numerically solves the Richards equation. The HYDRUS model reproduced measured values well for subsurface drainage discharge and pressure head values after the tillage, as determined by root mean squared error (RMSE), mean bias error (MBE), and R 2. Therefore, it is concluded that the model, which includes the effects of tillage on the hydraulic properties, can explain the reasons for differences in observed drainage in the two columns. Moreover, the effects of tillage depth on subsurface drainage discharge were simulated. The results implied that the effect of tillage on subsurface drainage were induced by the conditions of pressure head just before the first rainfall, and this effect was equal to, or greater than, the effects of changes in hydraulic properties due to tillage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1144
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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