Surface pan breaking

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Effects of tine cultivator in spring

Project resonsible: Tomas Rydberg, Department of Soil Science, SLU.

Contact: Åsa Myrbeck, Department of Soil Science, SLU, P.O. Box 7014, SE-750 07 Uppsala.

Organic farming is to a great extent dependent on mechanical weed management. Concurrently, a central question on organic farms is how to cover the crop's demand for nitrogen.

At surface pan breaking, the shallow soil cultivation to a depth of 2-3 cm probably causes a significant mineralization of nitrogen. The surface-soil layer usually has a higher content of organic matter than deeper layers and consequently also has high mineralization potential. The fact that the mean temperature during early summer is high also supports the hypothesis that the mineralization of nitrogen is significant when soil cultivation is carried out during the growth season. When the soil cultivation is carried out during the fast growth stage of the crop, the mineralized nitrogen can be optimally utilized in contrast to nitrogen mineralized during the autumn or winter.

The aims of this project are to explore the effects of surface pan breaking in the spring on weeds, nitrogen mineralization and tillers of autumn sown cereals. Various soil tillage methods (crossboard roller, S-tine cultivator and weed harrow) are being compared with untilled treatments.