Otsekülvi mõju mulla kvaliteedile Eesti tootmispõldudel
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Finding out the best agricultural management practices for certain climatic regions and soils is crucial to maintain soils quality. One of the practices, to stop soil erosion, reduce leaching and increase soil organic carbon content, is no-tillage. No tillage is coming more popular also in Estonia. It helps to reduce fuel and labour costs. However, as there is missing decades long practice of no-tillage in Estonia, its effect on soil quality is not clear. At the same time, easy methods to detect soil quality are needed next to the laboratory analyses. During the project iSQPER the visual assessment tool was developed for easy detection of soil quality. The aim of the current study was to compare visual assessment with laboratory measurements on Estonian no-till fields in the 2016. The study was done on sandy loam Gleyic Stagnic Luvisol in Põlva and sandy loam Stagnic Luvisol in Tartu County. Visual assessment was made from the soil upper 30 cm layer, laboratory measurements from 5–10 cm and 25–30 cm depth. The parameters studied were: erodibility, water logging, soil structure and slaking, colour, porosity, plough pan, organic carbon content, penetration resistance and amount of earthworms. The study revealed slightly better soil quality under no-tillage by visual assessment. In most cases laboratory analyses confirmed these results. Structural distribution was better by ploughing compared with no tillage. However, fine aggregate (0.25–2 mm) stability was higher under no-tillage compared with ploughing. There were no significant differences in number of earthworms between practices.