Masto, R.E. and Chhonkar, P.K. and Singh, Dhyan and Patra, Ashok Kumar (2007) Soil quality response to long-term nutrient and crop management on a semi-arid Inceptisol. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 118 (1-4). pp. 130-142. ISSN 0167-8809

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The soil quality concept provides a tool to help quantify the combined biological, chemical and physical response of soil to cropmanagement practices. Our objective was to quantify effects of 10 fertilizer and farm yard manure (FYM) treatments applied for 31 years to a rotation that included maize (Zea mays), pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) on an Inceptisol at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, India. A soil quality index (SQI) based on six soil functions (i.e. the soil’s ability to: accommodate water entry, facilitate water movement and storage, resist surface degradation, resist biochemical degradation, supply plant nutrients and sustain crop productivity) was derived for each treatment using bulk density, water retention, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), plant-available nutrients, soil organic matter (SOM), microbial biomass, soil enzymes and crop yield. SQI ratings ranged from 0.552 (unfertilized control) to 0.838 for the combined NPK fertilizer plus manure treatment. Comparisons among treatments indicated that SQI increases associated with the combined (NPK + manure) treatment were distributed as follows: N (7.1%increase), P (7.8%), K(14.4%), Zn (4.8%) and manure (15%). The control (-11.4%) and N alone (-5.1%) resulted in degradation compared to a reference soil (no fertilizer/manure, no crop), and NP alone or sub-optimal rates of NPK were on the verge of degradation. Hand weeding and sulphur application had no measurable effect on SQI. High K fixing capacity was a limiting factor for these soils, even when FYM was applied. The lower SQI rating associated with N or NP-only treatments suggests that two of the most common fertilizer management practices in India may not be sustainable. The SQI was calculated without the weighting factors too, which revealed that the weighting factors did not affect the relative ranks of individual treatments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soil quality index; Soil quality framework; Long-term fertilizer application; Farm yard manure; Maize–wheat cropping system
Subjects: Enviornmental Management
Depositing User: Dr. Satyendra Kumar Singh
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2012 06:10
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2012 06:10

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