An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of three tillage systems on crop yield in a winter wheat-vetch (Vicia sativa L.) rotation during 3-year growing seasons on a clay-loam soil in the northwest region of Turkey. The three tillage treatments were: (1) conventional tillage (CT); (2) shallow tillage (ST); (3) double disk tillage (DD). The wheat grain yield was significantly affected by tillage when averaged across years. The highest wheat grain yield was obtained with shallow tillage treatment. The year affected wheat grain yield significantly, mainly due to the distribution of rainfall through the growing season and probably due to the wheat-vetch rotation. Heads density and head length increased significantly with shallow tillage when compared with conventional tillage. Tillage practices had no significant influence on thousand kernel weight. Results from this study indicated that for a dryland wheat-vetch rotation cropping system, shallow tillage had higher wheat grain yields than that obtained from conventional tillage. Furthermore, mouldboard ploughing tillage in this crop rotation could be replaced by shallow tillage that would increase yield and would be likely to improve soil properties in the long-term. On the other hand, double disk tillage proved to be a promising soil management practice to improve vetch grain yield when compared with conventional tillage. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.