Feldkampagne DFG-Projekt "TilEro"

The first part of the field campaign in the context of the research project “Tillage erosion affects crop yields and carbon balance in hummocky landscapes (TilEro)” funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) was currently finished in the beautiful landscape of the Uckermark region in North-East Germany!

Our study area, the catchment of the river Quillow (size ca. 200 km2; located ca. 100 km north of Berlin), represents a hilly, young moraine landscape characterized by a relatively dry, continental climate. Due to the hilly topography and the intensive, strongly mechanized agriculture, the soils of the arable land are highly prone to tillage erosion. In contrast to water erosion, tillage erosion takes place at hilltops and slope shoulders and deposition takes place in depressions. It is hypothesized that tillage erosion leads to a truncation of soil profiles at convexities, which results in shallower soils and hence decreases mean yields.

For large-scale modelling of tillage erosion and carbon turnover, regional model parameters are indispensable! There comes the fieldwork into play: recent tillage erosion rates are measured using passive radiofrequency identification transponders (RFIDs; glass tags, size: 4 x 32 mm). Those RFIDs are incorporated into the plough layer of the soil (depth: ca. 12 cm) in a regular grid ranging from the hilltop to the footslope at 5 agricultural fields with varying slope steepness (spread over the study area). The movement of the RFIDs due to real tillage practices will then be measured every year by finding the RFIDs again with a detection antenna and measuring their exact location with a differential GPS (DGPS accuracy ±10 cm). We expect quite varying translocation rates of the RFIDs (on average ≈ 0.5-1 m) depending on the tillage implement, depth and speed as well as on the slope steepness and the soil type. Until now, we successfully implemented 1.500 RFIDs at 5 test sites!

The next part of the field campaign will take place in spring 2021. Thereby, we will conduct a controlled experiment at 3 test fields to compare the RFID movement between different tillage implements. More information about the research project “TilEro” can be found on the project page.

We are currently looking for a student assistant (BSc. or MSc.) !! If you are interested in taking part in the next field campaign, you can find more information by clicking on this link.


© Universität Augsburg
© Universität Augsburg
© Universität Augsburg