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Soil Aggregation, Organic Carbon Concentration, and Soil Bulk Density As Affected by Cover Crop Species in a No-Tillage System

By Adriano Stephan Nascente, Yuncong Li and Carlos Alexandre Costa Crusciol


Soil aggregation and the distribution of total organic carbon (TOC) may be affected by soil tillage and cover crops. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of crop rotation with cover crops on soil aggregation, TOC concentration in the soil aggregate fractions, and soil bulk density under a no-tillage system (NTS) and conventional tillage system (CTS, one plowing and two disking). This was a three-year study with cover crop/rice/cover crop/rice rotations in the Brazilian Cerrado. A randomized block experimental design with six treatments and three replications was used. The cover crops (treatments) were: fallow, Panicum maximum, Brachiaria ruziziensis, Brachiaria brizantha, and millet (Pennisetum glaucum). An additional treatment, fallow plus CTS, was included as a control. Soil samples were collected at the depths of 0.00-0.05 m, 0.05-0.10 m, and 0.10-0.20 m after the second rice harvest. The treatments under the NTS led to greater stability in the soil aggregates (ranging from 86.33 to 95.37 %) than fallow plus CTS (ranging from 74.62 to 85.94 %). Fallow plus CTS showed the highest number of aggregates smaller than 2 mm. The cover crops affected soil bulk density differently, and the millet treatment in the NTS had the lowest values. The cover crops without incorporation provided the greatest accumulation of TOC in the soil surface layers. The TOC concentration was positively correlated with the aggregate stability index in all layers and negatively correlated with bulk density in the 0.00-0.10 m layer

Topics: Brachiaria brizantha, Brachiaria ruziziensis, sistema de plantio direto, Panicum maximum, Pennisetum glaucum, manejo do solo, Agriculture (General), S1-972
Publisher: Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1590/01000683rbcs20140388
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