Modeling of the Soil Water Balance Based on Time-Dependent Hydraulic Properties under Different Tillage Practices
A simulation model with time-dependent hydraulic conductivity parameters was used to predict the effects of three different tillage practices: conventional tillage (CT), no-tillage (NT) and subsoiling tillage (ST) on the components of the soil water balance during the summer maize growing season. The predictive capability of the model was improved, particularly for the subsoiling tillage case. The simulation results show that temporal changes in soil hydraulic conductivity induced by different tillage practices can affect percolation, water storage, transpiration and evaporation. Differences in the simulated components of the water balance were found to be small between CT and NT practices, but larger in the ST case. Compared with the conventional and no-tillage methods, subsoiling promotes infiltration and deep percolation, thereby favoring a possible recharge of the groundwater. Actual evaporation is always lower in the subsoiled plots, whatever the hydrological year. Transpiration is similar for the three treatments, suggesting no significant differences in water availability, except in wet years where it is higher in subsoiled soils.