Evaluating energy efficiency of site-specific tillage in maize in NE Italy

Bioresour Technol. 2008 Oct;99(15):6957-65. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2008.01.027. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


This paper examine the efficiency of energy use of three conservation tillage practices (SST - sub-soil tillage; MT - minimum tillage; and NT - no tillage) performed within two management zones, previously identified in a field according to the stability of yield variability. Experiments were carried out in 2003 in NE Italy, on a farm near Rovigo, on a 8-ha field with clay soil, in maize (Zea mays, L.). The purpose of the paper is (i) to investigate the energy variability due to these tillage practices performed spatially within two management zones and (ii) to analyze the long-term energetic efficiency for each tillage practice. The energy balance was highest for SST with respect to MT and NT, due to labor and fuel consumption rates. The energy balance was influenced by the spatial pattern of yield, with appreciable differences between practices in terms of both the conversion index of energy for tillage (9.0, 12.6 and 22.8GJha(-1) for SST, MT and NT, respectively) and the energy use efficiency for tillage (8.0, 11.6, 21.8GJha(-1) for SST, MT and NT, respectively). Based on the simulated data and the calibration results, SALUS model proved to be a good tool for analyzing long-term effects of tillage practices on yield. The NT treatment showed the best efficiency over years, due to the low inputs in comparison with the output level.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Italy
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / metabolism*