Effect of synthetic and natural water absorbing soil amendment soil physical properties under potato production in a semi-arid region.

Xu, S.T., Zhang, L., McLaughlin, N.B., Mi, J.Z., Chen, Q., and Liu, J.H. (2015). "Effect of synthetic and natural water absorbing soil amendment soil physical properties under potato production in a semi-arid region.", Soil & Tillage Research, 148, pp. 31-39. doi : 10.1016/j.still.2014.10.002  Access to full text

Abstract

Effect of synthetic and natural water absorbing soil amendments on soil physical properties, fresh tuber yield and size of potato production was investigated in a field experiment in a semi-arid region in northern China in 2010–2012. Treatments included two different synthetic water absorbing amendments (potassium polyacrylate-PAA, polyacrylamide-PAM) and one natural amendment (humic acid-HA), both as single amendments, and compound amendments (natural combined with a synthetic) and a no amendment control. Soil amendments had highly significant effect (P ≤ 0.01) on soil water holding capacity, soil cone penetration resistance and soil aggregate size fractions, but had no significant effect (P > 0.05) on soil bulk density. Soil amendments increased fresh tuber yield by 4.2–32.9%, increased the proportion of tuber size category 1 (>150 g) and decreased size category 3 (<75 g) in all the three years. The compound amendment, with PAM + HA, showed best effect of all amendment treatments on soil physical properties in potato production, and deserves further research. Highlights: • Assessed soil and potato crop response to water holding soil amendments in a semi-arid region. • Soil amendments had highly significant effect (P ≤ 0.01) on soil water holding capacity, soil cone penetration resistance and soil aggregate size fractions. • Soil amendments increased fresh tuber yield and tuber size.

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