Previous projects in Soil Mechanics and Soil Management

Last changed: 24 May 2018

Our research group aims at understanding impacts of soil management, soil compaction and natural processes on soil structure and associated soil functions. These are some of our completed projects.

Nitrogen leaching under various cropping/tillage systems

We examine effects of various measures to increase nitrogen (N)-use efficiency and reduce N losses to water bodies. An N-use efficient system comprising delayed tillage until late autumn and spring, direct drilling of winter wheat, earlier sowing of winter and spring crops and use of a catch crops is compared with a conventional system in a long-term field experiment on a sandy loam at Mellby in south-western Sweden.

The field experiment consists of separately tile-drained plots. The different systems have been found to have a great influence on soil mineral N and leaching of N. Concentrations of N in drainage water during the two first crop rotation cycles were twice as high in the conventional as in the N-use efficient soil tillage system. However, there has been a tendency for increased N delivery of previously recovered N in the N-use efficient system in recent years.

Team: Åsa Myrbeck

Collaborators: Rural Economy and Agricultural Society of Halland, Sweden.

Publications: Myrbeck & Stenberg, 2014, Soil Use Manage 30; Jordbearbetningens årsrapport (In Swedish)

Funding: The Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, SLU.


Effectiveness of catch crops established after harvest

Catch crop are known to reduce N leaching and increase soil organic matter. There is a need for alternative catch crops in Swedish cropping systems besides the commonly used perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). In this field experiment, we are growing oil radish (Raphanus sativus) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth, an N-fixating leguminose) intercropped with oat, both established after a shallow cultivation after harvest of a main crop.

These two catch crops are compared to the perennial ryegrass regarding effects on soil mineral nitrogen during autumn and winter as well as on yield of the following main crop. We also test different timing of incorporation of the perennial ryegrass catch crop.

Team: Åsa Myrbeck

Collaborators: Rural Economy and Agricultural Society of Halland, Sweden.

Publications: Jordbearbetningens årsrapport (In Swedish)

Funding: The Swedish Board of Agriculture, the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry


Exploiting yield gaps for sustainable intensification of winter wheat production

Wheat is one of the most important crop in the world, but wheat yields in Europe have stagnated. The yield gap, i.e. the difference between potential and actual yield, needs to be decreased if production levels are to be raised. Moreover, the yield trend in Sweden has been worse than in most other countries in Western Europe.

The aim of this project is to increase wheat yields while decreasing the environmental impact. The project is based on three-year field trials with winter wheat at four sites and on modelling, allowing to investigate the difference between the normal yield obtained by farmers and the potential yield under optimum non-limiting conditions. We expect that the generated knowledge will help farmers to increase crop yields.

Team: Åsa Myrbeck

Collaborators: Bo Stenberg, Karin Blombäck, Elsa Coucheney, Lena Engström and Anders Larsolle, SLU.


Funding: Aqua Agri


Using 3D camera technique for soil surface characterization

The soil micro-relief has strong implications for plant growth, especially for crop germination and establishment. The main objectives of this project are to develop algorithms for estimation of aggregate size distribution and soil surface roughness from images obtained with a 3D-camera, and to apply the technique for on-line measurements. Measurements will be carried out in ongoing field experiments and with sieved aggregate fractions.

Team: Åsa Myrbeck

Collaborators: Bo Stenberg and Anders Larsolle, SLU; Mikael Gilbertsson, RISE, Sweden.

Funding: The Swedish Farmers’ Foundation for Agricultural Research (SLF)



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