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Academic Article: Simulating Tillage Impacts on Soil Biophysical Properties Using the SALUS Model

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Authors: Bruno Basso, Joe T. Ritchie, Peter R. Grace and Luigi Sartori


A sustainable land management has been defined as the management system that allows for production, while minimizing risk, maintaining quality of soil and water. Tillage systems can significantly decrease soil carbon storage and influence the soil environment of a crop. Crop growth models can be useful tools in evaluating the impact of different tillage systems on soil biophysical properties and on the growth and final yield of the crops.

The objectives of this paper were

  1. to illustrate the SALUS model and its tillage component;
  2. to evaluate the effects of different tillage systems on water infiltration and time to ponding,
  3. to simulate the effect of tillage systems on some soil biophysical properties.

The SALUS (System Approach to Land Use Sustainability) model is designed to simulate continuous crop, soil, water and nutrient conditions under different tillage and crop residues management strategies for multiple years. Predictions of changes in surface residue, bulk density, runoff, drainage and evaporation were consistent with expected behaviors of these parameters as described in the literature. The experiment to estimate the time to ponding curve under different tillage system confirmed the theory and showed the beneficial effects of the residue on soil surface with respect to water infiltration. It also showed that the no-tillage system is a more appropriate system to adopt in areas characterized by high intensity rainfall.

Academic Citation

  • Basso, B., J. T. Ritchie, P. R. Grace, and L. Sartori. 2006. “Simulating Tillage Impacts on Soil Biophysical Properties Using the SALUS Model” 3 (December): 1–10.


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