Abstract Owing to humid climate and unfavourable relief, the problem of extensive soil erosion in central Croatia is of prime importance. The main objective of this research was to determine how soil erosion is influenced by deep (30 cm) soil tillage practised for deep-rooted row crops in comparison with other tillage methods, on Stagnic Luvisols. Soil loss quantity was recorded during the 4-year investigation cycle (1994–1998), under common field crops grown under six tillage methods. Appreciably higher rates of soil erosion were recorded in low-density row spring crops than in high-density winter crops under the same tillage methods. The time immediately following the sowing of spring crops was the most critical period, i.e. the period when highest soil loss occurs. The results showed that erosion processes cannot be completely stopped; however, they can be reduced to an acceptable level by an appropriate tillage method. Efficient soil conservation on Stagnic Luvisols was achieved by no-tillage and all across the slope tillage methods.