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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-6—SOIL & WATER MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

Macroaggregate Characteristics in Cultivated Soils after 25 Annual Manure Applications


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 5, p. 1637-1647
    Received: Aug 22, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): whalenj@nrs.mcgill.ca
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  1. Joann K. Whalen *a and
  2. Chi Changb
  1. a Dep. of Natural Resource Sciences and McGill School of Environment, Macdonald Campus of McGill Univ., 21111 Lakeshore Road, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada H9X 3V9
    b Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1


Agricultural management practices that alter the soil organic matter (SOM) content are expected to cause changes in soil stability and aggregation. Animal manure is a source of organic matter (OM) that has been demonstrated to increase macroaggregate formation and stability. The objectives of this study were to determine how long term cattle manure applications to a calcareous Haploboroll clay loam (Lethbridge, AB, Canada) affected aggregate size distribution, the total C, N, and P content of aggregate size fractions, and water-stable aggregates. Beef cattle manure applied at rates >30 Mg ha−1 yr−1 under dryland production and >60 Mg ha−1 yr−1 to soils under irrigation resulted in fewer dry-sieved aggregates >7.1 mm and more dry-sieved aggregates between 0.47 and 1.2 mm in the 0- to 5-cm depth, compared with unamended soils. The dry-sieved aggregate fractions between 0.47 and 1.2 mm include the <0.84-mm fraction that has been associated with increased susceptibility to wind erosion in the Canadian semiarid prairies. There was more total C, N, and P in all dry-sieved aggregate fractions of soils receiving >30 Mg manure ha−1 yr−1 than unamended soils, and dry-sieved aggregates between 0.47 and 2.0 mm tended to have the highest C, N, and P contents. Water aggregate stability was higher in irrigated than dryland soils, but did not improve with increasing manure application rates. Dispersing agents in the cattle manure appear to have destabilized the larger soil macroaggregates.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:1637–1647.