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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Amendments on Microhydrologic Properties of Compact Basal Till Soil and Yield of Alfalfa1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 4, p. 716-720
    Received: Apr 27, 1981

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  1. T. L. Chow and
  2. G. R. Saini2



Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of various amendments (lime, farm manure, and sawdust), alone and in combination, for improving hydrologic properties of a dense basal till soil (Fera Luvic Gleysol in the Canadian system of classification which is equivalent to Typic Ochraqualf in the U.S. system) and for increasing alfalfa (Medicago sativaM L.) yield.

The amendments used in the experiments were mixed with sub-soil samples fragmented to < 5 mm at a rate of 16 g/kg of sub-soil on a dry basis and packed into PVC columns in which minature ceramic cups at various depths were installed to measure soil water matric potential during the growth period of crop planted in the columns. After the harvest of the crop the columns were used to determine bulk density and various hydrological properties of the soil.

The hydrological data of the soil indicated that the saturated hydraulic conductivity of sawdust-treated sub-soil was six times higher than the manure treatment and over 53 times higher than the control. Moisture retention curves suggested that an increase in percentage of pores > 29 micron was the major difference in pore size distribution between the organic matter treated and the nontreated sub-soils.

The greenhouse, as well as the field experiments, showed that all organic amendment treatments gave significantly higher yields than the compacted and loosened suh-soils but were not significantly different from each other. The increase in yield was much more pronounced in the field experiments as compared to the greenhouse ones. It was concluded from these experiments that the incorporation of farm manure and sawdust in the dense subsoils of basal till Fera Luvic Gleysols will improve their physical properties and hence the yield of alfalfa.

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