Aeration conditions of a clayey oxisol under long-term no-tillage
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The hypothesis of this study was that the absence of soil tillage in long-term no-tillage (NT) systems can be detrimental to soil aeration. The objective was to assess the aeration condition of an Oxisol (Rhodic Ferrasol), very clayey texture (750 g kg-1 of clay; 200 g kg-1 of sand), after 30 years of cultivation under NT. The physical property soil air permeability (Ka) is sensitive to changes in the soil pore system. Aside from Ka, the air-filled porosity (!a) and indices of pore continuity (K1 and N), derived from the relationship between Ka and !a, were used as indices of soil aeration. From the soil layers 0.0-0.1 and 0.1-0.2 m, 240 undisturbed samples were collected along a transect perpendicular to the crop rows, at three sampling positions: corn plant row (CR); center of the interrow (INT); and the equidistant point between CR and INT (PE). The properties Ka and !a were determined at soil matric potentials (Ym) of -2, -4, -6, -10, -30, and -50 kPa. Soil bulk density (BD) was also determined. The results confirmed the hypothesis. In the 0.0-0.1 m layer, Ka, K1, N and !a were significantly greater and BD significantly lower in CR than at the other sampling positions. At a Ym of -10 kPa, the Ka of CR was 6.9 and 8.4 times higher than in PE and INT, respectively, in the 0.0-0.1 m layer. The properties Ka, K1 and N were sensitive enough to detect changes in the pore system and their differences between the sampling positions demonstrated the importance of the spatial location for soil sampling. Tilling the crop rows provides better soil aeration under NT.
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Revista Brasileira de Ciencia do Solo
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