Soil structure and greenhouse gas production differences between row and interrow positions under no-tillage
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ABSTRACT: No-tillage in Brazil is an effi cient agricultural system that improves crop productivity whilst controlling erosion caused to the soil by degradation. However, there is some concern regarding soil compaction. Our objective was to determine whether the function of soil structure in sustaining crop growth was dependent on row and interrow positions in long-term no-tillage. We took soil samples from a fi eld in a commercial farm under long-term no-tillage since 1979 on a clayey Oxisol in Southern Brazil. We assessed soil physical quality using the revised Peerlkamp technique and measured bulk density, air-fi lled porosity and air permeability of intact soil cores. Samples were incubated to assess in vitro N2O and CO2 production. The soil physical and structural properties showed consistent differences between interrow and row positions, where the properties measured were more favorable. The revised Peerlkamp technique proved as effi cient as quantitative parameters in discriminating treatment differences. Overall, soil physical conditions in the interrow were less favourable than in the row. Pore continuity did not vary as regards position. This may explain why row position did not infl uence in vitro N2O and CO2 production. Soil physical quality under no-tillage system is enhanced, at least in the short term, by superficial disturbances in the row as a result of the action of the coulters of the no-tillage seeder.
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