Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 73, No 3 (2008)

Soil Tillage Needs a Radical Change for Sustainability


Pages: 131-136


In Central Europe, the challenge in soil tillage throughout the last century can be characterized as a fight against extreme climatic and economic situations. From 1800s till the 1970s, the main requirement of soil tillage was to provide suitable soil conditions for plant growth (moreover with fi ne structure). Both climatic and economic difficulties were beneficial in establishing new tillage trends, however overestimation of the crop demands have presumably been promoted by the deterioration in soil quality. From the end of the 1990s, new requirements have also been introduced because of the rise in energy prices and because of the need to cut production costs. The reduced tillage in Central European region showed some advantages, e.g. less soil disturbance and traffic however, that resulted in new soil condition defects (e.g. top- and subsoil compaction, structure degradation). The ideas of sustainability offered a better solution that is to conserve soil resources and to protect the environment. A new problem, the global climate change, and the importance of the adaptability fasten to the original sustainable goals. In this paper the features of soil quality deteriorating tillage (conventional, over-reduced) are summarised, the steps of improvement are demonstrated, and factors affecting sustainable soil tillage are formulated.


soil; soil quality; tillage; sustainability; climate change

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