Precrops alleviate soil physical limitations for soybean root growth in an Oxisol from southern Brazil

Bertollo, A.M. and Moraes, M.T.D. and Franchini, J.C. and Soltangheisi, A. and Balbinot Junior, A.A. and Levien, R. and Debiasi, H. (2021) Precrops alleviate soil physical limitations for soybean root growth in an Oxisol from southern Brazil. Soil and Tillage Research, 206. ISSN 0167-1987

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The impact of soil compaction on soybean root growth and grain yield can be alleviated by the presence of biopores and root channels in the soil profile. We hypothesize that cover crops (ruzigrass and oats) are better than grain crops (wheat and maize) to reduce the soil physical limitation to soybean root growth. We aimed to identify which precrops have higher potential to reduce the mechanical and water stresses resulting from soil compaction and soil desegregation, and to enhance soybean (Glycine max L) root growth and yield in an Oxisol (Rhodic Eutrudox), with clayey soil texture. Soybean was grown after four precrops (ruzigrass, oats, wheat, or maize), under four soil compaction levels [soil chiselling (MTC), no-tillage (NT), NT additionally compacted with four passes of a tractor (NTCT), and NT additionally compacted with eight passes of a grain harvester (NTCH)]. Soil physical attributes (bulk density, macroporosity, water-filled pore space and soil penentration resistance) in the soil profile (0−50 cm) and soybean components (grain yield, cumulative root length density and root dry mass) were investigated. Soil physical attributes were improved over time due to the combined effects of natural wetting-drying cycles and biopores created by the roots of precrops. Ruzigrass increased soybean root biomass and length density, mainly at deeper soil layers of compacted treatments (NTCT and NTCH). The rate of increase of soybean root length density in the soil profile was higher after ruzigrass cultivation in comparison with maize and oats. Soil compaction effects on grain yield were partially (NTCH) or totally (NTCT) alleviated after two years and ruzigrass intensified the mitigation process. Ruzigrass also resulted in higher soybean yields in comparison with maize, whereas NTCH and MTC reduced yields in approximately 400 kg ha−1 (∼13 %) compared to NT and NTCT. Soil strengthening was more evident after ruzigrass and oats cultivation than maize or wheat cropping. Soil compaction in clayey Oxisols can be alleviated over time as a result of root channels provided by precrops combined with natural wetting-drying cycles. Among the evaluated precrops, ruzigrass is of particular interest, as it provides the most suitable soil physical environment for soybean root growth and grain yield. In contrast, chiselling was demonstrated to be a non-viable strategy to mitigate soil physical constraints for root growth and grain yields. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.

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Soil and Tillage Research
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Export Date: 30 October 2020 CODEN: SOTRD Correspondence Address: Moraes, M.T.D.; Federal University of Technology-Paraná, Campus Francisco Beltrão, Department of Agronomic Science, PO Box 135, Francisco Beltrão, Brazil; email: Funding details: Fundação Agrisus, PA Nº 1236/13 Funding details: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, CAPES Funding details: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, FAPESP, 2019/21532-7, 2017/11332-5 Funding details: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, FAPESP Funding text 1: We thank the staff of the Crop and Soil Management Department of Embrapa Soja, Donizete Aparecido Loni, Mariluci da Silva Pires, Everson Balbino, Eliseu Custodio, João Ribeiro de Macedo (in memoriam), Agostinho Aparecido da Silva, Ildefonso Acosta Carvalho, and Gustavo Garbelini, for their assistance over the experiment and data collection period. This study received funding from AGRISUS Foundation - Sustainable Agriculture ( PA Nº 1236/13 ). A.M.B. and M.T.M. acknowledges for PhD scholarships from the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) . A.S is grateful to São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) , which supported the fellowships ( 2017/11332-5 and 2019/21532-7 ). References: Abdollahi, L., Hansen, E.M., Rickson, R.J., Munkholm, L.J., Overall assessment of soil quality on humid sandy loams: effects of location, rotation and tillage (2015) Soil Tillage Res., 145, pp. 29-36; Alvares, C.A., Stape, J.L., Sentelhas, P.C., de Moraes Gonçalves, J.L., Sparovek, G., Köppen's climate classification map for Brazil (2013) Meteorol. 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