Changes in soil quality over the first six years of cultivation were studied for an Oxbow landscape dominated by Black Chernozems. Bulk density at shoulder, footslope, and level landforms was found to increase by 15-20 % from 1985 to 1988 and by 3-4 % from 1988 to 1991. Similarly, organic carbon concentration declined by 17-37 % and 0-10 %, respectively, over the same periods. These results demonstrate that cultivation of virgin land has an almost immediate impact on soil quality. 137Cesium measurements indicated that appreciable soil erosion has not occurred in this landscape since cultivation began.