Soil Physical Quality and Soybean Yield as Affected by Chiseling and Subsoiling of a No-Till Soil


Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo




ABSTRACT The concept of soil physical quality (SPQ) is currently under discussion, and an agreement about which soil physical properties should be included in the SPQ characterization has not been reached. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the ability of SPQ indicators based on static and dynamic soil properties to assess the effects of two loosening treatments (chisel plowing to 0.20 m [ChT] and subsoiling to 0.35 m [DL]) on a soil under NT and to compare the performance of static- and dynamic-based SPQ indicators to define soil proper soil conditions for soybean yield. Soil sampling and field determinations were carried out after crop harvest. Soil water retention curve was determined using a tension table, and field infiltration was measured using a tension disc infiltrometer. Most dynamic SPQ indicators (field saturated hydraulic conductivity, K0, effective macroporosity, εma, total connectivity and macroporosity indexes [CwTP and Cwmac]) were affected by the studied treatments, and were greater for DL compared to NT and ChT (K0 values were 2.17, 2.55, and 4.37 cm h-1 for NT, ChT, and DL, respectively). However, static SPQ indicators (calculated from the water retention curve) were not capable of distinguishing effects among treatments. Crop yield was significantly lower for the DL treatment (NT: 2,400 kg ha-1; ChT: 2,358 kg ha-1; and DL: 2,105 kg ha1), in agreement with significantly higher values of the dynamic SPQ indicators, K0, εma, CwTP, and Cwmac, in this treatment. The results support the idea that SPQ indicators based on static properties are not capable of distinguishing tillage effects and predicting crop yield, whereas dynamic SPQ indicators are useful for distinguishing tillage effects and can explain differences in crop yield when used together with information on weather conditions. However, future studies, monitoring years with different weather conditions, would be useful for increasing knowledge on this topic.

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