Spatial distributions of soil chemical and physical properties prior to planting soybean in soil under ridge-, no- and conventional- tillage in a maize-soybean rotation.

Fan, R.-Q., Yang, X.M., Drury, C.F., Reynolds, W.D., and Zhang, X.-P. (2014). "Spatial distributions of soil chemical and physical properties prior to planting soybean in soil under ridge-, no- and conventional- tillage in a maize-soybean rotation.", Soil Use and Management, 30(3), pp. 414-442. doi : 10.1111/sum.12136  Access to full text

Abstract

Detailed information on the profile distributions of agronomically important soil properties in the planting season can be used as criteria to select the best soil tillage practices. Soil cores (0–60 cm) were collected in May, 2012 (before soybean planting), from soil transects on a 30-yr tillage experiment, including no-tillage (NT), ridge tillage (RT) and mouldboard plough (MP) on a Brookston clay loam soil (mesic Typic Argiaquoll). Soil cores were taken every 19 cm across three corn rows and these were used to investigate the lateral and vertical profile characteristics of soil organic carbon (SOC), pH, electrical conductivity (EC), soil volumetric water content (SWC), bulk density (BD), and penetration resistance (PR). Compared to NT and MP, the RT system resulted in greater spatial heterogeneity of soil properties across the transect. Average SOC concentrations in the top 10 cm layer were significantly greater in RT than in NT and MP (P = 0.05). NT soil contained between 0.8 and 2.5% (vol/vol) more water in the top 0–30 cm than RT and MP, respectively. MP soil had lower PR and BD in the plough layer compared to NT and RT soils, with both soil properties increasing sharply with depth in MP. The RT had lower PR relative to NT in the upper 35 cm of soil on the crop rows. Overall, RT was a superior conservation tillage option than NT in this clay loam soil; however, MP had the most favourable soil conditions in upper soil layers for early crop development across all treatments.

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