Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo]]> vol. 40 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Potential of Spectroradiometry to Classify Soil Clay Content]]> ABSTRACT Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is a fast and cheap alternative for soil clay, but needs further investigation to assess the scope of application. The purpose of the study was to develop a linear regression model to predict clay content from DRS data, to classify the soils into three textural classes, similar to those defined by a regulation of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply. The DRS data of 412 soil samples, from the 0.0-0.5 m layer, from different locations in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were measured at wavelengths of 350 to 2,500 nm in the laboratory. The fitting of the linear regression model developed to predict soil clay content from the DRS data was based on a R2 value of 0.74 and 0.75, with a RMSE of 7.82 and 8.51 % for the calibration and validation sets, respectively. Soil texture classification had an overall accuracy of 79.0 % (calibration) and 80.9 % (validation). The heterogeneity of soil samples affected the performance of the prediction models. Future studies should consider a previous classification of soil samples in different groups by soil type, parent material and/or sampling region. <![CDATA[Planosols Developed in Different Geoenvironmental Conditions in Northeastern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT The semiarid region of northeastern Brazil has a large area occupied by Planosols, where in the State of Pernambuco these soils are mainly used for livestock farming and subsistence crops. The knowledge on these soils is limited, which compromises the understanding on their behavior, potentialities and limitations.This study aimed to analyze morphological, chemical, physical and mineralogical attributes of Planosols developed under different geoenvironmental conditions. Morphological descriptions and chemical, physical and mineralogical analyses were performed in four profiles of Planosols along a rainfall gradient. An increase in rainfall allowed for an increase in the clay content in the Bt horizon and a reduction in ESP, EC, Na+, CEC, S, pH (water and KCl) and soil density. Horizons A and E were thicker in Planosols in more humid environments. The increase in ESP associated with the presence of expansive minerals (smectite and vermiculite) allowed the development of a prismatic structure in Haplic Planosols and a columnar structure in Natric Planosols. The mineralogical assembly is indicative of poorly weathered soils. The mineralogical assemblies of the silt and clay fractions were similar in the different geoenvironments, while higher contents of easily alterable minerals were observed in the composition of the sand fraction in environments with a drier climate. <![CDATA[Genesis and Classification of Soils Containing Carbonate on the Apodi Plateau, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Information is scarce on the genesis and classification of soils derived from calcareous rocks in the Northeastern region of Brazil. This study describes the morphological, physical, chemical, mineralogical, and micromorphological properties of four soil profiles (P1-P4) located in the Apodi Plateau. A pedogenesis hypothesis and soil classification, according to the Brazilian System of Soil Classification (SiBCS), are proposed for these profiles. The interactions between parent material, surface topography and climate affected the pedogenesis processes and soil properties, although the calcareous nature of the parent material most affected the soil morphology and chemical properties. The sand fraction contained mainly quartz and calcite, and a smaller amount of mica. Smectite and interstratified illite-smectite occurred in the clay fraction of profile P1 and in some horizons of P2 (Ccmќ and Ccrќ) and P3 (2Ccrќ). Kaolinite predominated in profiles P2, P3, and P4; where as illite and vermiculite were present in the Bicќ, Bcќ, Bcmќ horizons of P2, in Bt2c of P3, and in C of P4. The mineralogy showed illite, hematite, and goethite, and anatase in a number of horizons. Micromorphological analysis of P2 indicated a strong cementation of Bcmќ and Ccmќ by calcium carbonate, and other properties indicate the formation of a petrocalcic horizon, but this horizon lacked lateral continuity in the profile. Therefore, the parapetrocalcic term is proposed for classifying P2 in the fourth level of the SiBCS. The 3Biќ-P1 horizon exhibited calcite coating and iron coating or quasi-coating, indicating distinct pedogenesis processes occurring under different environmental conditions. Likewise, the occurrence of petroplinthite in P2 indicates that climatic conditions during its formation differed from present conditions, and both situations are interpreted as evidence that the soils were formed by polygenetic processes. In the SiBCS classification, the soils are classified as Cambissolo Háplico Carbonático vertissólico (P1), Cambissolo Háplico Carbonático concrecionário (P2), Luvissolo Crômico Pálico petroplíntico (P3), and Neossolo Litólico Carbonatico típico (P4); and a new class (parapetrocálcico concrecionário) is proposed for P2 in the fourth level. <![CDATA[Assessment of Digital Elevation Model for Digital Soil Mapping in a Watershed with Gently Undulating Topography]]> ABSTRACT Terrain attributes (TAs) derived from digital elevation models (DEMs) are frequently used in digital soil mapping (DSM) as auxiliary covariates in the construction of prediction models. The DEMs and information extracted from it may be limited with regard to the spatial resolution and error magnitude, and can differ in the behavior of terrain features. The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality and limitations of free DEM data and to evaluate a topographic survey (TS) underlying the choice of a more appropriate model, for use in DSMs at a scale of 1:10,000. The study was conducted in an area of 937 ha in the watershed of Lajeado Giruá, in southern Brazil. The DEMs: DEM-TS, DEM-Topographic Map (TM), DEM-ASTER, DEM-SRTM, and DEM-TOPODATA were evaluated with regard to the precision elevation by statistical tests based on field reference points, the root mean square error (RMSE), identification of the number and size of spurious depressions, and the application of the Brazilian Cartographic Accuracy Standards Law (BCASL) to define the scale of each DEM. In addition, the TA derived from each DEM was compared with the TA from DEM-TS, considered to be terrain reality. The results showed that the elevation data of DEM-TS had the best quality (RMSE = 1.93 m), followed by DEM-SRTM (RMSE = 5.95 m), DEM-Topographic Map (RMSE = 8.28 m), DEM-TOPODATA (RMSE = 9.78 m) and DEM-ASTER (RMSE = 15.57 m). The DEM-TS was well-represented at a 1:10,000 scale, while the DEM-Topographic Map and DEM-SRTM fitted 1:50,000, the DEM-TOPODATA 1:50,000 and the DEM-ASTER a 1:100,000 scale. The results of DEM-SRTM and DEM-TOPODATA were closest to terrain reality (DEM-TS) and had the lowest number of spurious depressions and RMSE values for each evaluated attribute, but were inadequate for not fitting detailed scales compatible with small areas. The techniques for the acquisition of elevation data of each DEM and mainly the flat to gently undulating topography were factors that influenced the results. For a DSM at a scale of 1:10,000 in similar areas, the most appropriate model is DEM-TS. <![CDATA[Genesis of Soils Formed from Mafic Igneous Rock in the Atlantic Forest Environment]]> ABSTRACT Different parent materials participate in the formation of soils in the hilly landscape of “Mar de Morros” in the Atlantic Forest environment. Those derived from mafic igneous rock (gabbro) frequently show erosion problems because of land use, which is aggravated by the mountainous relief and soil attributes. This study evaluated the main pedogenic processes of soils formed from mafic igneous rock (gabbro) in a toposequence in Pinheiral (RJ) by characterizing physical, chemical, mineralogical and micromorphological attributes. The profiles are located at different sections in the toposequence: summit (P1), shoulder (P2), backslope (P3) and footslope (P4).They were classified according to the Brazilian System of Soil Classification (SiBCS) and correlated to Soil Taxonomy. The soil morphology of profiles P2, P3 and P4 is expressed by a brownish-red color, blocky structure with high to moderate development, clay films and clay loam to clay texture, with a textural B horizon. P1 shows less development, with a shallow profile and the sequence of horizons A-C-Cr. The soils have a slightly low degree of weathering, identified by the presence of pyroxenes and feldspars in the sand fraction and montorillonite in the clay fraction; the sum of bases is from 15 to 24 cmolc kg-1; and cation exchange capacity (CEC) is from 12 to 22 cmolc kg-1. A significant presence of clay skins was observed in the field and was confirmed by thin section analysis, which showed features such as argillans, ferriargillans and iron nodules. The soil profile at the summit (P1) was classified as Neossolo Regolítico Órtico (Typic Udorthents), and the other profiles as Chernossolo Argilúvicos Órticos (Typic Argiudolls). <![CDATA[Fuzzy Classification in the Determination of Input Application Zones]]> ABSTRACT Correctly interpreting soil fertility and its spatial distribution within an area helps to lessen losses and environmental effects associated with agriculture, to optimize fertilization and liming practices. This study is aimed at using concepts and methods from spatial and temporal analyses to soil fertility and to develop a fuzzy classification methodology in an effort to define input application zones in three conilon coffee harvests. An irregular network with georeferenced points was built in the central region of the farm. Soil samples were collected at 0.00-0.20 m depth within the projections of tree canopies. Geostatistical analysis was used to set up maps in which the variables were shown. In such maps, input and output fuzzy sets were created and applied, as well as rules of inference and determination of to-be-applied logical operators. Fuzzy classification of the area was performed in the three harvests so as to define whether or not inputs were needed. Our main findings show that the N-P-K requirement was spatially dependent in all harvests. By classifying the area using fuzzy logic, it was possible to analyze soil fertility and to indicate the regions having the smallest and greatest needs for N-P-K and liming. <![CDATA[An Evaluation of the Use of Statistical Procedures in Soil Science]]> ABSTRACT Experimental statistical procedures used in almost all scientific papers are fundamental for clearer interpretation of the results of experiments conducted in agrarian sciences. However, incorrect use of these procedures can lead the researcher to incorrect or incomplete conclusions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of the experiments and quality of the use of statistical procedures in soil science in order to promote better use of statistical procedures. For that purpose, 200 articles, published between 2010 and 2014, involving only experimentation and studies by sampling in the soil areas of fertility, chemistry, physics, biology, use and management were randomly selected. A questionnaire containing 28 questions was used to assess the characteristics of the experiments, the statistical procedures used, and the quality of selection and use of these procedures. Most of the articles evaluated presented data from studies conducted under field conditions and 27 % of all papers involved studies by sampling. Most studies did not mention testing to verify normality and homoscedasticity, and most used the Tukey test for mean comparisons. Among studies with a factorial structure of the treatments, many had ignored this structure, and data were compared assuming the absence of factorial structure, or the decomposition of interaction was performed without showing or mentioning the significance of the interaction. Almost none of the papers that had split-block factorial designs considered the factorial structure, or they considered it as a split-plot design. Among the articles that performed regression analysis, only a few of them tested non-polynomial fit models, and none reported verification of the lack of fit in the regressions. The articles evaluated thus reflected poor generalization and, in some cases, wrong generalization in experimental design and selection of procedures for statistical analysis. <![CDATA[Genesis and Classification of Soils Containing Carbonates in a Toposequence of the Bambuí Group]]> ABSTRACT The Bambuí Group, formed from siliciclastic sediments deposited on an extensive epicontinental platform at the end of the Neoproterozoic era, is characterized by limestones with fine to very fine texture. Limestone-derived soils in the southeast of Tocantins state, Brazil, are less notorious than similar soils in other regions of Brazil and their characterization could contribute to the Brazilian System for Soil Classification (SiBCS). Given that little is known of these soils, despitetheir agricultural potential, the objective of this study was to characterize their properties and the processes leading to soil of genesis, and also contribute to developing the Brazilian System of Soil Classification (SiBCS). Soils profiles were located on the summit (P1), shoulder (P2), backslope (P3), and footslope (P4) of a toposequence in the municipality of Lavandeira, Tocantins. Morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties of the profiles were determined. The soils were classified as: P1 - Chernossolo Rêndzico Lítico típico (Lithic Haplustolls); P2 - Cambissolo Háplico Ta Eutrófico léptico hipocarbonático (Lithic Haplustolls); P3 - Cambissolo Háplico Carbonático léptico (Lithic Haplustepts); and P4 - Luvissolo Háplico Órtico típico (Typic Rhodustalfs). All the profiles showed high contents of silt, calcium, and magnesium, which resulted in high pH and low exchangeable aluminum content. Base saturation and calcium carbonate equivalent contents were also high, and the horizons showed dark colors due to high organic matter content, which contained humin as the dominant fraction. Mineralogical analysis of the clay fraction indicated predominance of hydroxy-interlayered vermiculite, followed by illite, kaolinite, and quartz, whereas the sand fraction exhibited reflections characteristic of the quartz mineral. Given P4 contents of calcium carbonate equivalent above 50 g kg-1 and the relevance of this feature for agriculture, we propose the inclusion of hypocarbonate as a criterion for classification of Luvissolos Háplicos Órticos at the subgroup level. <![CDATA[Genesis and Classification of Soils from Subtropical Mountain Regions of Southern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Soils formed in high mountainous regions in southern Brazil are characterized by great accumulation of organic matter (OM) in the surface horizons and variation in the degree of development. We hypothesized that soil properties and genesis are influenced by the interaction of parent materials and climate factors, which differ depending on the location along the altitudinal gradient. The goal of this study was to characterize and classify the soil, evaluate soil distribution, and determine the interactive effects of soil-forming factors in the subtropical mountain regions in Santa Catarina state. Soil samples were collected in areas known for wine production, for a total of 38 modal profiles. Based on morphological, physical, and chemical properties, soils were evaluated for pedogenesis and classified according to the Brazilian System of Soil Classification, with equivalent classes in the World Reference Basis (WRB). The results indicated that pedogenesis was strongly influenced by the parent material, weather, and relief. In the areas where basic effusive rocks (basalt) were observed, there was formation of extensive areas of clayey soils with reddish color and higher iron oxide contents. There was a predominance of Nitossolos Vermelhos and Háplicos (Nitisols), Latossolos Vermelhos (Ferralsols), and Cambissolos Háplicos (Cambisols), highlighting the pedogenetic processes of eluviation, illuviation of clay, and latosolization in conditions of year-long, large-volume, well-distributed rainfall and stability of land forms. In areas with acid effusive rocks (rhyodacites), medial or clayey soils were observed with lower iron oxide content, invariably acidic, and with low base content. For these soils, relief promoted substantial removal of material, resulting in intense rejuvenation, with a predominance of Cambissolos Háplicos (Cambisols) and lesser occurrence of Nitossolos Brunos (Nitisols) and Neossolos Litólicos (Leptosols). Soils formed from sedimentary rocks also tended to be more acidic, but with higher sand content, and the soils identified were Cambissolos Háplicos and Húmicos (Cambisols). Cluster analysis separated the soil profiles into three groups: the first and largest was formed by profiles originating from sedimentary rocks and rhyodacites; the second, smaller group was formed by four profiles in the Água Doce region (acidic rocks); and the third was formed by profiles derived from basalt. Discriminant analysis was effective in grouping soil classes. Thus, the study highlighted the importance of geology in the formation of soils in this landscape associated with climate and relief. <![CDATA[Predicting Runoff Risks by Digital Soil Mapping]]> ABSTRACT Digital soil mapping (DSM) permits continuous mapping soil types and properties through raster formats considering variation within soil class, in contrast to the traditional mapping that only considers spatial variation of soils at the boundaries of delineated polygons. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of SoLIM (Soil Land Inference Model) for two sets of environmental variables on digital mapping of saturated hydraulic conductivity and solum depth (A + B horizons) and to apply the best model on runoff risk evaluation. The study was done in the Posses watershed, MG, Brazil, and SoLIM was applied for the following sets of co-variables: 1) terrain attributes (AT): slope, plan curvature, elevation and topographic wetness index. 2) Geomorphons and terrain attributes (GEOM): slope, plan curvature, elevation and topographic wetness index combined with geomorphons. The most precise methodology was applied to predict runoff areas risk through the Wetness Index based on contribution area, solum depth, and saturated hydraulic conductivity. GEOM was the best set of co-variables for both properties, so this was the DSM model used to predict the runoff risk. The runoff risk showed that the critical months are from November to March. The new way to classify the landscape to use on DSM was demonstrated to be an efficient tool with which to model process that occurs on watersheds and can be used to forecast the runoff risk. <![CDATA[Is It Possible to Classify Topsoil Texture Using a Sensor Located 800 km Away from the Surface?]]> ABSTRACT It is often difficult for pedologists to “see” topsoils indicating differences in properties such as soil particle size. Satellite images are important for obtaining quick information for large areas. However, mapping extensive areas of bare soil using a single image is difficult since most areas are usually covered by vegetation. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop a strategy to determine bare soil areas by fusing multi-temporal satellite images and classifying them according to soil textures. Three different areas located in two states in Brazil, with a total of 65,000 ha, were evaluated. Landsat images of a specific dry month (September) over five consecutive years were collected, processed, and subjected to atmospheric correction (values in surface reflectance). Non-vegetated areas were discriminated from vegetated ones using the Linear Spectral Mixture Model (LSMM) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Thus, we were able to fuse images with only bare soil. Field samples were taken from bare soil pixel areas. Pixels of soils with different textures (soil texture classifications) were used for supervised classification in which all areas with exposed soil were classified. Single images reached an average of 36 % bare soil, where the mapper could only “see” these points. After using the proposed methodology, we reached a maximum of 85 % in bare areas; therefore, a pedologist would have proper conditions for generating a continuous map of spatial variations in soil properties. In addition, we mapped soil textural classes with accuracy up to 86.7 % for clayey soils. Overall accuracy was 63.8 %. The method was tested in an unknown area to validate the accuracy of our classification method. Our strategy allowed us to discriminate and categorize different soil textures in the field with 90 % accuracy using images. This method can assist several professionals in soil science, from pedologists to mappers of soil properties, in soil management activities. <![CDATA[Boron Leaching Decreases withIncreases on Soil pH]]> ABSTRACT Management of boron fertilization depends on the magnitude of B leaching in the soil profile, which varies proportionally with the concentration of B in the soil solution, which, in turn, decreases as the soil pH increases due to the higher sorption of B on soil solid surfaces. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of liming and rates of B applied to the soil on B leaching. The experiment was carried out in the laboratory in 2012, and treatments consisted of a factorial combination of two rates of liming (without and with lime to raise the soil pH to 6.0) and five rates of B (0, 10, 20, 50 and 100 mg kg-1, as boric acid). A Typic Rhodudalf was used, containing 790 g kg-1 clay and 23 g kg-1 organic matter; the pH(H2O) was 4.6. Experimental units were composed of PVC leaching columns (0.10 m in diameter) containing 1.42 kg of soil (dry base). Boron was manually mixed with the top 0.15 m of the soil. After that, every seven days for 15 weeks, 300 mL of distilled water were added to the top of each column. In the percolated solution, both the volume and concentration of B were measured. Leaching of B decreased with increased soil pH and, averaged across the B rates applied, was 58 % higher from unlimed (pH 4.6) than from limed (pH 6.6) samples as a result of the increase in B sorption with higher soil pH. In spite of its high vertical mobility, the residual effect of B was high in this oxisol, mainly in the limed samples where 80 % of B applied at the two highest rates remained in the soil, even after 15 water percolations. Total recovery of applied B, including leached B plus B extracted from the soil after all percolations, was less than 50 %, showing that not all sorbed B was quantified by the hot water extraction method. <![CDATA[Rhizobia Isolated from Coal Mining Areas in the Nodulation and Growth of Leguminous Trees]]> ABSTRACT An alternative for recovery of areas degraded by coal mining is revegetation with rapidly growing leguminous trees, which often do not establish in low fertility soils. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of native rhizobia isolated from coal mining areas in the nodulation and growth of leguminous trees. We isolated 19 strains of rhizobia from a degraded soil near Criciúma, SC, Brazil, and evaluated the nodulation and growth-promoting capacity of the inoculated isolates for bracatinga (Mimosa scabrella), maricá (M. bimucronata) and angico-vermelho (Parapiptadenia rigida). Isolates UFSC-B2, B6, B8, B9, B11 and B16 were able to nodulate bracatinga, providing average increases of 165 % in shoot dry matter, with a significant contribution to N accumulation. Isolates UFSC-B5, B12, and M8 favored nodulation and growth of maricá, especially isolate UFSC-B12, which promoted increases of 370 % in N accumulation compared to treatment with N fertilizer. All strains were inefficient in promoting growth and N uptake by angico-vermelho. In conclusion, isolation and use of selected rhizobia for bracatinga and maricá plant inoculation can contribute to the growth and accumulation of N, with prospects for use in programs for revegetation of degraded soils in coal mining areas. <![CDATA[Soil Water Potentials and <em>Capsicum annuum</em> L. under Salinity]]> ABSTRACT Investigations into water potentials in the soil-plant system are of great relevance in environments with abiotic stresses, such as salinity and drought. An experiment was developed using bell pepper in a Neossolo Flúvico (Fluvent) irrigated with water of six levels of electrical conductivity (0, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 dS m-1) by using exclusively NaCl and by simulating the actual condition (using a mixture of salts). The treatments were arranged in a randomized block design, in a 6 × 2 factorial arrangement, with four replicates. Soil matric (Ψm) and osmotic (Ψo) potentials were determined 70 days after transplanting (DAT). Soil total potential was considered as the sum of Ψm and Ψo. Leaf water (obtained with the Scholander Chamber) and osmotic potentials were determined before sunrise (predawn) and at noon at 42 and 70 DAT. There were no significant differences between the salt sources used in the irrigation water for soil and plant water potentials. The supply of salts to the soil through irrigation water was the main factor responsible for the decrease in Ψo in the soil and in bell pepper leaves. The total potential of bell pepper at predawn reached values of -1.30 and -1.33 MPa at 42 and 70 DAT, respectively, when water of 9 dS m-1 was used in the irrigation. The total potential at noon reached -2.19 MPa. The soil subjected to the most saline treatment reached a water potential of -1.20 MPa at 70 DAT. There was no predawn equilibrium between the total water potentials of the soil and the plant, indicating that soil potential cannot be considered similar to that of the plant. The determination of the osmotic potential in the soil solution should not be neglected in saline soils, since it has strong influence on the calculation of the total potential. <![CDATA[Molecular Identification of <em>Trichoderma</em> spp. in Garlic and Onion Fields and <em>In Vitro</em> Antagonism Trials on <em>Sclerotium cepivorum</em>]]> ABSTRACT Trichoderma species are non-pathogenic microorganisms that protect against fungal diseases and contribute to increased crop yields. However, not all Trichoderma species have the same effects on crop or a pathogen, whereby the characterization and identification of strains at the species level is the first step in the use of a microorganism. The aim of this study was the identification – at species level – of five strains of Trichoderma isolated from soil samples obtained from garlic and onion fields located in Costa Rica, through the analysis of the ITS1, 5.8S, and ITS2 ribosomal RNA regions; as well as the determination of their individual antagonistic ability over S. cepivorum Berkeley. In order to distinguish the strains, the amplified products were analyzed using MEGA v6.0 software, calculating the genetic distances through the Tamura-Nei model and building the phylogenetic tree using the Maximum Likelihood method. We established that the evaluated strains belonged to the species T. harzianum and T. asperellum; however it was not possible to identify one of the analyzed strains based on the species criterion. To evaluate their antagonistic ability, the dual culture technique, Bell’s scale, and the percentage inhibition of radial growth (PIRG) were used, evidencing that one of the T. asperellum isolates presented the best yields under standard, solid fermentation conditions. <![CDATA[Electrical Conductivity and Chemical Composition of Soil Solution: Comparison of Solution Samplers in Tropical Soils]]> ABSTRACT Soil solution samplers may have the same working principle, but they differ in relation to chemical and physical characteristics, cost and handling, and these aspects exert influence on the chemical composition of the soil solution obtained. This study was carried out to evaluate, over time, the chemical composition of solutions extracted by Suolo Acqua, with the hydrophilic membrane (HM) as a standard, using soils with contrasting characteristics, and to determine the relationship between electrical conductivity (EC) and concentration of ions and pH of soil solution samples. This study was carried out under laboratory conditions, using three soils samples with different clay and organic matter (OM) contents. Soil solution contents of F−, Cl−, NO−3, Br−, SO42−, Na+, NH4+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, were analyzed, as well as inorganic, organic, and total C contents, pH, and EC, in four successive sampling times. Soil solution chemical composition extracted by the Suolo Acqua sampler is similar to that collected by the HM, but the Suolo Acqua extracted more Na+ and soluble organic C than the HM solution. Solution EC, cation and anion concentrations, and soluble C levels are higher in the soil with greater clay and OM contents (Latossolo and Cambissolo in this case). Soil solution composition varied over time, with considerable changes in pH, EC, and nutrient concentrations, especially associated with soil OM. Thus, single and isolated sampling of the soil solution must be avoided, otherwise composition of the soil solution may not be correctly evaluated. Soil solution EC was regulated by pH, as well as the sum of cation and anion concentrations, and the C contents determined in the soil liquid phase. <![CDATA[Carbon in Humic Fractions of Organic Matter in Soil Treated with Organic Composts under Mango Cultivation]]> ABSTRACT Soil organic matter (SOM) plays a key role in maintaining the productivity of tropical soils, providing energy and substrate for the biological activity and modifying the physical and chemical characteristics that ensure the maintenance of soil quality and the sustainability of ecosystems. This study assessed the medium-term effect (six years) of the application of five organic composts, produced by combining different agro-industrial residues, on accumulation and chemical characteristics of soil organic matter. Treatments were applied in a long-term experiment of organic management of mango (OMM) initiated in 2005 with a randomized block design with four replications. Two external areas, one with conventional mango cultivation (CMM) and the other a fragment of regenerating Caatinga vegetation (RCF), were used as reference areas. Soil samples were collected in the three management systems from the 0.00-0.05, 0.05-0.10, and 0.10-0.20 m layers, and the total organic carbon content and chemical fractions of organic matter were evaluated by determining the C contents of humin and humic and fulvic acids. Organic compost application significantly increased the contents of total C and C in humic substances in the experimental plots, mainly in the surface layer. However, compost 3 (50 % coconut bagasse, 40 % goat manure, 10 % castor bean residues) significantly increased the level of the non-humic fraction, probably due to the higher contents of recalcitrant material in the initial composition. The highest increases from application of the composts were in the humin, followed by the fulvic fraction. Compost application increased the proportion of higher molecular weight components, indicating higher stability of the organic matter. <![CDATA[Hydro-Physical Properties of a Typic Hapludult under the Effect of Rice Husk Ash]]> ABSTRACT The combustion of rice husk generates a partially burnt mixture called rice husk ash (RHA) that can be used as a source of nutrients to crops and as a conditioner of soil physical properties. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of RHA levels on the hydro-physical properties of a Typic Hapludult. The experimental design was composed of random blocks with four replications, which comprised plots of 24 m2 and treatments with increasing RHA rates: 0, 40, 80 and 120 Mg ha-1. Undisturbed soil samples were collected in the soil layers of 0.00-0.10 and 0.10-0.20 m after nine months of RHA application, using steel cylinders (0.03 m of height and 0.047 m of diameter). These samples were used to determine soil bulk density (Bd), total soil porosity (TP), soil macroporosity (Ma), soil microporosity (Mi) and the available water capacity (AWC). Disturbed soil samples were collected to determine the stability of soil aggregates in water, mean weight diameter of water stable aggregates (MWD), and soil particle size distribution. The results show that, as the RHA rate increased in the soil, Bd values decreased and TP, Ma and MWD values increased. No effect of RHA was found on Mi and AWC values. The effects of RHA on the S parameter (Dexter, 2004), precompression stress and compression index (Dias Junior and Pierce, 1995) values are consistent those shown for density and total porosity. Rice husk ash was shown to be an efficient residue to improve soil physical properties, mainly at rates between 40 and 80 Mg ha-1. Rice husk ash reduces bulk density and increases total porosity, macroporosity and soil aggregation, but does not affect microporosity, field capacity, permanent wilting point, and available water capacity of the soil. The effect of rice husk ash on the S parameter, precompression stress and index compressibility coefficient values are consistent with those observed for the bulk density and total porosity. <![CDATA[Characterization of Organic Matter under Different Pedoenvironments in the Viruá National Park, in Northern Amazon]]> ABSTRACT Soil organic matter (SOM) fractions result from a variety of environmental processes, which affect incorporation and production rates, decomposition, alteration, and/or mineralization of organic matter. The aim of this study was to characterize SOM under the environments of rain forest, wooded campinarana (grasslands), arboreal-shrubby campinarana, grassy-woody campinarana, and pioneer plants of the Viruá National Park, in the north of the Brazilian Amazon. After chemical and physical characterization and soil classification, total organic carbon (TOC), total N, microbial activity, organic C from fulvic acid fractions (FA), humic acid (HA), and humin (Hu) were determined at two depths (0.00-0.15 and 0.15-0.30 m). The TOC was lower in the grassy-woody campinarana, arboreal-shrubby campinarana, and pioneer formation areas than in the rain forest. Higher values of microbial activity were related to forest ecosystems in soils without physical or water restrictions and with better fertility compared to the other areas. The Hu predominated in all vegetation types studied, especially in the surface layer, because of the more soluble nature of HA and FA; and the higher values of HA/FA ratios in wooded campinaranas indicate that these environments contribute to higher losses of humic substances through fulvic acid forms, due to better drainage conditions. <![CDATA[Soil Chemistry after Irrigation with Treated Wastewater in Semiarid Climate]]> ABSTRACT Soil irrigation using treated wastewater in the Brazilian semiarid region is a promising practice as this area currently faces water scarcity and pollution of water resources by domestic sewage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of treated wastewater in drip irrigation and its effect on the chemistry of soil cultivated with squash (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) Coroa IAC and to verify whether there was an increase in soil salinity under a semiarid climate. The experiment was conducted for 123 days on a farm close to the sewage treatment plant, in a randomized block design with five treatments and four replications. The treatments consisted of two irrigation water depths (100 and 150 % of the evapotranspiration), two applications of gypsum to attenuate wastewater sodicity (0 and 5.51 g per plant), and a control treatment with no application of wastewater or gypsum. During the experiment, treated wastewater and soil gravitational water, at a depth of 0.40 m, were collected for measurement of Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, NO−3, NH4+, Cl− , alkalinity, electrical conductivity, pH and sodium adsorption ratio. At the end of the experiment, soil samples were collected at depths of 0.00-0.10, 0.10-0.20, and 0.20-0.40 m; and pH, total N, organic C, exchangeable cations and electrical conductivity of the saturation extract (CEs) were analyzed. Besides an increase in pH and a reduction in total N, the irrigation with wastewater reduces soil salinity of the naturally salt-rich soils of the semiarid climate. It also led to soil sodification, in spite of the added gypsum, which indicates that irrigation with wastewater might require the addition of greater quantities of gypsum to prevent physical degradation of the soil. <![CDATA[Pine Harvest Impact on Soil Structure of a Dystric Cambisol (Humic)]]> ABSTRACT Traffic of heavy machinery at harvest and log extraction causes structural degradation of the soil, but studies on the effects of forest harvesting on soils with high organic matter content and exchangeable Al are scarce. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of mechanized forest harvesting operations on a Dystric Cambisol (Humic) with high organic matter (more 50 g kg1) content and exchangeable Al (more 6,0 cmolc kg-1), reforested with Pinus taeda L. The evaluated harvesting system were the whole-tree, in which the feller-buncher cuts and lays the trees down in bundles; the skidder drags the tree bundles up near a road; and the harvester delimbs and cuts the trees into short logs, stacking them on the roadside to be loaded onto trucks. The areas were evaluated for soil conditions at pre-harvest, prior to harvest, and at post-harvest, consisting of areas of low disturbance, high disturbance, forest residues and log yards. The effects of compaction after forest harvesting are observed by the decrease in total porosity (especially biopores and macropores), soil saturated hydraulic conductivity, and stability of aggregates. After forest harvesting, soil compaction was observed in all evaluated situations, but with different depths depending on operation type and the intensity of traffic carried in each area. <![CDATA[Rheological Parameters as Affected by Water Tension in Subtropical Soils]]> ABSTRACT Rheological parameters have been used to study the interaction between particles and the structural strength of soils subjected to mechanical stresses, in which soil composition and water content most strongly affect soil resistance to deformation. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of water tension on rheological parameters of soils with different mineralogical, physical, and chemical composition. Surface and subsurface horizons of four Oxisols, two Ultisols, one Alfisol, and one Vertisol were physically and chemically characterized; their rheological parameters were obtained from amplitude sweep tests under oscillatory shear on disturbed soil samples that were saturated and subjected to water tension of 1, 3, 6, and 10 kPa. In these samples, the rheological parameters linear viscoelastic deformation limit (γL), maximum shear stress (τmax), and integral z were determined. By simple regression analysis of the rheological parameters as a function of soil water tension, we observed increased mechanical strength with increasing water tension up to at least 6 kPa, primarily due to increased capillary forces in the soil. However, increased elasticity assessed by γL was not as expressive as the increase in structural rigidity assessed by τmax and integral z. Elastic deformation of the soil (γL) increases with the increase in the number of bonds among particles, which depend on the clay, total carbon, expansive clay mineral, and cation contents; however, maximum shear resistance (τmax) and structural stiffness (integral z) mainly increase with clay, kaolinite, and oxide content by increasing the strength of interparticle bonds. A decrease in mechanical strength occurs for water tension of 10 kPa (the lowest water content evaluated) in sandy horizons or in horizons with a high proportion of resistant microaggregates (pseudosand), when associated with low bulk density, due to fewer points of contact between soil particles and therefore lower capillary force. <![CDATA[Root Distribution of Peach Rootstocks Affected by Soil Compaction and Acidity]]> ABSTRACT Root growth can be limited by physical and chemical conditions of the soil. Compacted and acidic soils, where there is an occurrence of exchangeable Al, constitute barriers to use of the soil by plant roots. The hypothesis of this study was that physical and chemical properties of the inter-row soil of a peach orchard influence the root distribution of different rootstocks. The aim of this study was to describe and register the soil physical and chemical properties and root distribution in the soil profile of the inter-row of seven years old mature peach (Prunus persica) orchard. Samples of soil (classified as an Argissolo Vermelho Distrófico típico [Rhodic Paleudult] with 180 g kg-1 clay, 120 g kg-1 silt, and 700 g kg-1 sand) and roots were collected from orchard inter-rows of ‘Maciel’ peach, grafted onto ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Nemaguard’ rootstock, at 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 m from the trunk, and at every 0.10 m, up to a depth of 0.50 m. The soil samples were sieved and the roots washed. A subsample was removed from each sample for chemical analysis. Resistance to penetration (RP) was used as an indicator of soil compaction. A close relationship was found among chemical properties, RP, and root distribution. Root density was affected by the presence of compacted regions (RP &gt;2,000 kPa) and by high Al saturation in the exchange complex in the soil profile. There was a reduction in the frequency of thick roots (Ø &gt;2 mm) in the samples collected in portions of compacted soil and at increasing soil depth. The compacted portion of the inter-row limits lateral distribution of the peach tree root system, while aluminum limits its depth. <![CDATA[Comparison of Methods for Determining Precompression Stress Based on Computational Simulation]]> ABSTRACT There are many methods for determining precompression stress (σp), whose value is affected by the slope of the soil compression curve. This study was designed to evaluate the hypothesis that for a certain compression curve all methods used to determine σp present the same value and accuracy. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy and the relationship among seven of these methods by computational simulation of soil compression curves under nine scenarios. The following methods were used: Casagrande, Pacheco Silva, intersection of the initial void ratio with the virgin compression line (VCLzero), and the regression methods based on 2 (reg1), 3 (reg2), 4 (reg3), and 5 (reg4) points for modeling the elastic curve. Under each scenario, created by combining the swelling and the compression indices, 1,000 compression curves were computationally simulated via the Monte Carlo method. Subsequently, 95 % percentile confidence intervals were built using the 1,000 estimates of σp from each method under each scenario. Most of the differences among the methods were detected under scenarios consisting of high swelling and low compression indices. In general, Casagrande, Pacheco Silva, and reg4 were strongly correlated and presented the highest values of σp, as well as similar variability. The latter two can be considered as alternatives to the standard method of Casagrande, except for Pacheco Silva when the curve has a low compression index (≤0.2) and from medium to high swelling index (≥0.025), for which differences (p&lt;0.05) were detected. <![CDATA[Liquid Bovine Biofertilizer and Cultivation Effects on the Porosity of a Typic Haplocambids as a Function of Cultivation and Dose]]> ABSTRACT The soil porous space is where processes related to gases and soil solution occur, and provides an adequate guide for agricultural practices. This study aimed to evaluate the integrated effects of cultivation and the application of liquid bovine biofertilizer on the porous network of a Typic Haplocambids (Cambissolo Háplico Ta Eutrófico) cultivated with figs (Ficus carica L.). Four treatments were evaluated (under fig cultivation with the application of 20, 40 and 60 % of biofertilizer through irrigation, a control treatment without biofertilizer and an additional treatment – soil under natural vegetation). Disturbed and undisturbed soil samples were collected in three soil layers (0.0-0.1, 0.1-0.2 and 0.2-0.3 m) with four replicates. The following physical properties were analyzed: particle-size distribution, soil bulk and particle densities, and soil water retention curve. The coefficient of intrinsic soil air permeability was calculated based on the equation that considers the decreasing pressure method. Soil porosity, pore continuity index and blocked porosity were calculated and pore length was estimated. Compared with the native forest, pore network quality is improved, if not maintained, when the soil is cultivated under the conditions described in this experiment. In the conditions of cultivation, the application of bovine biofertilizer, for supplying sediments that block or reduce the size of the pores, did not improve soil air permeability. The cases where pore network quality was worsened in soil porosity as a result of the applied treatments (Biofertilizer 20 %, Biofertilizer 40 % and Biofertilizer 60 % for the layer of 0.0-0.1 m and Biofertilizer 60 % for 0.1-0.2 m), although not considered critical to plant development, point to the need for specific management practices (for instance, avoid coarse residues in the biofertilizer before its application) to avoid soil degradation. <![CDATA[Spatial Variability of Soil Properties in Archeological Dark Earth Sites under Cacao Cultivation]]> ABSTRACT Soils with an A horizon formed by human activity, an anthropogenic A horizon, are found in the Amazon Region. Few studies have examined the spatial distribution of the properties of these soils. We mapped the spatial variability of some soil properties in an area of Archaeological Dark Earth (ADE) in the Brazilian Amazon. A sampling grid was defined over an area of 42 × 88 m under cacao cultivation in which sampling points were established at a spacing of 6 × 8 m, for a total of 88 points. Samples were collected from the 0.00-0.05, 0.05-0.10, 0.10-0.20, and 0.20-0.30 m depth layers. Soil texture, aggregate stability, and organic carbon (OC) analyses were performed on disturbed soil samples. Undisturbed samples were used to determine soil macroporosity (Macro), microporosity (Micro), total porosity (TP), and soil resistance to penetration (RP). The results were analyzed by descriptive statistic, Pearson correlation (p&lt;0.01), and geostatistics. Soil bulk density, total pore volume, and geometric mean diameter are dependent on the total amount of OC in the ADE area. Increased soil bulk density and RP are proportional to a decrease in OC content and lower Micro and TP. Moreover, soil resistance to penetration is influenced by soil water and clay content with depth. <![CDATA[Agronomic and Economic Efficiency of Common-Bean Inoculation with Rhizobia and Mineral Nitrogen Fertilization]]> ABSTRACT Management of biological nitrogen fixation in common bean still requires improvement. The objective of this study was to verify the compatibility of nitrogen fertilization with biological N2 fixation to increase common bean yield and profitability. Four field experiments were performed in four municipalities of Minas Gerais, Brazil, during the 2009 and 2010 winter crop season. The 2009 crop experiments were set up under a no-till system and the 2010 crop was conducted using conventional tillage. A randomized block experimental design was used with four replications and seven treatments combining application rates of mineral N (at sowing and/or topdressing) and seed inoculation with Rhizobium tropici strain CIAT899. Inoculation with 20 kg ha-1 N-urea at sowing and seed inoculation does not interfere with nodule dry matter and promotes yield comparable to that observed with 80 kg ha-1 N-urea with economic profitability in both no-till and conventional tillage systems. These results show the possibility of economic savings with respect to N fertilizers, but also a significant ecological contribution by avoiding problems associated with misuse of these fertilizers, such as eutrophication of waterways and denitrification. <![CDATA[Abundance and Diversity of Soil Macrofauna in Native Forest, Eucalyptus Plantations, Perennial Pasture, Integrated Crop-Livestock, and No-Tillage Cropping]]> ABSTRACT Intensive land use can affect macrofaunal biodiversity, which is a property that can be used as a soil quality indicator. This study evaluated the abundance and diversity of soil macrofauna and its relation to soil chemical and physical properties in five land use systems (LUS) in the eastern region of Santa Catarina. The following LUS were studied: native forest (NF), eucalyptus plantations (EP), perennial pasture (PP), integrated crop-livestock (ICL), and no-tillage cropping (NT). The macrofauna was quantified in 0.25 × 0.25 m monoliths and sampled in the 0.00-0.20 m layer in the summer (Jan/2012) and winter (Jul/2012). For each LUS, nine points were sampled, distributed in a 30 × 30 m sampling grid. After screening the edaphic macrofauna organisms, the individuals were counted and identified at the species level when possible, or in major taxonomic groups. The Shannon diversity indices were calculated and the macrofaunal groups together with the physical and chemical properties were subjected to principal component (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA). The abundance and diversity of macrofaunal groups are affected by the LUS. The properties of organic matter, macroporosity, bulk density, cation exchange capacity at pH 7.0, base saturation, potential acidity, and exchangeable Al were related to the abundance of soil macrofaunal groups. The stability and biodiversity of soil macrofauna were highest in the LUS of NF, PP, and EP. <![CDATA[Substitution of Clay Content for P-Remaining as an Index of the Phosphorus Buffering Capacity for Soils of Rio Grande do Sul]]> ABSTRACT Mehlich-1 soil extract is currently used in Rio Grande do Sul (RS) and Santa Catarina (SC) States, in Brazil, to evaluate soil phosphorus available to plants and Mehlich-1 is sensitive to soil buffering capacity. This limitation is overcome partly by soil separation into buffering classes based on soil clay content. However, soil clay content has some technical and operational limitations, such as the underestimation of soil clay levels in soils under no-till. The aim of this study was to evaluate the remaining phosphorus (P-rem) compared to soil clay content as an index of the buffering capacity in soils of RS. The relationship between P-rem and soil clay content was assessed using 200 soil samples from a wide range of locations across the state. In 20 representative soil types, P-rem, soil clay content, P maximum adsorption capacity, total and pedogenic Fe contents, amount of P2O5 needed to increase soil P in 1 mg kg-1 extracted by Mehlich-1 and -3 methods and P capacity factor were determined. Furthermore, a pot experiment was carried out with plants to determine soil P content extracted by Mehlich-1 and -3 at the maximum technical efficiency (MET) and the maximum absorption efficiency (MEA). Correlation analyses were performed between P-rem and soil clay content and, with the attributes of soils involving the P buffering capacity. The relationship between P-rem and soil clay content was described as a decreasing exponential function; however, the adjustment was not adequate to propose critical levels for P-rem. The P-rem index was superior to soil clay index in practically all relationships with the attributes related to the soil buffering capacity of the soils. In some cases, the indexes were similar; however, P-rem was not lower than the soil clay content in any case. The P-rem is a more reliable index to represent soil buffering capacity than the soil clay content in soils from RS, and P-rem might be used to implement soil classes for Mehlich-1 and Mehlich-3 determinations of soil P. <![CDATA[Development of Alternative Methods for Determining Soil Organic Matter]]> ABSTRACT Soil organic matter (SOM) is important to fertility, since it performs several functions such as cycling, water and nutrient retention and soil aggregation, in addition to being an energy requirement for biological activity. This study proposes new trends to the Embrapa, Walkley-Black, and Mebius methods that allowed the determination of SOM by spectrophotometry, increasing functionality. The mass of 500 mg was reduced to 200 mg, generating a mean of 60 % saving of reagents and a decrease of 91 % in the volume of residue generated for the three methods without compromising accuracy and precision. We were able to optimize conditions for the Mebius method and establish the digestion time of maximum recovery of SOM by factorial design and response surface. The methods were validated by the estimate of figures of merits. Between the methods investigated, the optimized Mebius method was best suited for determining SOM, showing near 100 % recovery. <![CDATA[Biological Properties and Organic Matter Dynamics of Soil in Pasture and Natural Regeneration Areas in the Atlantic Forest Biome]]> ABSTRACT The removal of original vegetation for crops and pasture production and then followed by natural regeneration is a standard practice in the Atlantic Forest, which has produced patches with different degrees of degradation and regeneration across the landscape. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of replacement of native forest by pasture and natural regeneration of vegetation on soil and on soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics in the dry and rainy season in an Atlantic Forest fragment in Passa Vinte, Minas Gerais (MG), Brazil. Soil samples were collected in the rainy and dry season, at a depth of 0.00-0.05 m. The variables determined were total organic carbon (TOC) and particle-size fractions of SOM [particulate organic carbon (POC) and mineral-associated organic carbon (MOC)]; microbial activity by basal respiration (BR) and microbial biomass carbon (MBC); species richness (SR) and spore abundance (SA) of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF); and total and easily extractable glomalin-related soil protein (T-GRSP and EE-GRSP, respectively). The conversion of native forest into pasture reduced TOC, POC, MOC, AMF-SA, T-GRSP, and EE-GRSP. However, it did not reduce MBC and BR. The fallow period in the area under natural regeneration was not long enough to restore soil TOC, POC, MOC, BR, MBC, T-GRSP, and EE-GRSP to levels approaching those observed in the forest area. Nevertheless, natural regeneration of vegetation stimulated the production of seedlings (spores) of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which are important for the establishment of plant species and advance of ecological succession. Seasonality affected some of the biological soil properties and SOM dynamics. <![CDATA[Retention and Solute Transport Properties in Disturbed and Undisturbed Soil Samples]]> ABSTRACT Solute transport parameters can be determined in miscible displacement experiments, usually performed in columns with disturbed (sieved) soil samples. Experiments with undisturbed samples are uncommon, due to the difficulty of taking undisturbed samples at the size required for these experiments. Structural alteration of the disturbed material implies modifications in the pore geometry that determines hydraulic properties, including hydraulic conductivity and retention and properties related to miscible displacement. An existing model for prediction of breakthrough curves based on retention properties was tested using material from a medium-textured Ferralsol, and alterations caused by sample disturbance were investigated. Soil water retention curves and miscible displacement parameters were determined in breakthrough experiments with nitrate salts in columns filled with undisturbed and disturbed soil samples. Data obtained from the undisturbed samples showed a higher dispersion, suggesting homogenization of pore geometry and a reduction in the representative elementary volume by the disaggregation and sieving of the soil material. The transport parameters for nitrate determined in disturbed and undisturbed samples were significantly different and the model was able to simulate the observed breakthrough curves after fitting the pore connectivity parameter. <![CDATA[Mild and Moderate Extraction Methods to Assess Potentially Available Soil Organic Nitrogen]]> ABSTRACT The use of chemical methods to assess the soil organic nitrogen (N) potentially available to plants is not a common practice in Brazil. However, associated with others, this tool might improve efficiency in the use of waste and nitrogen fertilizers. In our study, chemical methods were tested to assess potentially available soil N in samples of 17 representative soils of the western plateau of the state of São Paulo (10 Oxisols and 7 Ultisols). Available soil N was extracted from the collected soil samples using moderate (ISNT-Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test) and mild (hot water and heated solutions of 2 mol L-1 KCl and 0.01 mol L-1 CaCl2) extraction methods. The levels of potentially available N obtained from these chemical methods were correlated with dry matter (DM) and N uptake (Nup) by corn plants grown in pots in a greenhouse experiment carried out with the same 17 soil samples. The ISNT method showed the highest available N extraction capacity, whereas hot water showed the lowest capacity, followed closely by the hot 0.01 mol L-1 CaCl2 solution. Despite the differences among the quantities of available N extracted, the methods correlated with each other and with DM and Nup, but the values from the ISNT method showed the lowest correlation with plant variables (rDM = 0.67** and rNup = 0.81**). Procedures of extraction with water or 0.01 mol L-1 CaCl2 heated for 16 h, and 2 mol L-1 KCl heated for 4 h, resulted in similar correlation values (r) with plant DM and Nup. Thus, water (rDM = 0.77** and rNup = 0.90**) and 0.01 mol L-1 CaCl2 (rDM = 0.82** and rNup = 0.93**) heated for 16 h can be recommended as the best options for N extraction.considering the possibility for predicting N availability, lower generation of waste, and lower cost of analysis. <![CDATA[Rhizobial Inoculation, Alone or Coinoculated with Azospirillum brasilense, Promotes Growth of Wetland Rice]]> ABSTRACT Rhizobia and associative bacteria promote growth in rice plants (Oryza sativa L.) through a series of mechanisms, but most studies on inoculation have been performed based on inoculation with these bacteria in a separate or singular manner. The objective of this study was to assess the efficiency of single/isolated inoculation and inoculation combined with symbiotic rhizobia from forage legume and with Azospirillum brasilense on promoting growth and the root colonization process in wetland rice. Two rhizobia among four isolates from a greenhouse and a laboratory experiment were selected that efficiently promoted seed germination and rice plant growth in a sterilized substrate and in soil. The two most efficient isolates (UFRGS Vp16 and UFRGS Lc348) were inoculated alone or in combination with a commercial product containing A. brasilense in two field experiments using two wetland rice cultivars over two growing seasons. In the field experiments, these isolates coinoculated with A. brasilense promoted larger increases in the agronomic variables of wetland rice compared to the control without inoculation. Confocal laser microscopy confirmed the presence of inoculated bacteria tagged with gfp (UFRGS Vp16, UFRGS Lc348, and A. brasilense) colonizing the root surface of the rice seedlings, mainly in the root hairs and lateral roots. <![CDATA[Microbial Communities in Soil Cultivated with Muskmelon under Different Management Systems]]> ABSTRACT Microorganisms have a fundamental importance in agricultural ecosystems and may be influenced by several factors, including soil management. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of cropping systems and soil covers on the microbial community in soil cultivated with muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.). The experiment was conducted in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The treatments were arranged in a split plot design with cropping systems (no-tillage and conventional tillage systems) assigned to the whole plot treatments, while a group of seven soil covers (sunn hemp; millet; sunn hemp + millet; corn + brachiaria; spontaneous vegetation; bare soil; and spontaneous vegetation + polyethylene film) defined the subplot treatments. Total bacteria, sporulating bacteria, fluorescent Pseudomonas sp., and total fungi were quantified at six different times (in fallow soil, at planting of green manures in the soil, when transplanting muskmelon seedlings, and 20, 40, and 60 days after transplanting [DAT]). To determine the quantity of microorganisms, the plate count method was used, with a specific culture medium for the groups. The cultivation of sunn hemp associated with no-tillage at transplanting of muskmelon showed a greater quantity of colony forming units (CFUs) of total bacteria compared to the conventional tillage system. In most treatments, conventional tillage showed greater amounts of sporulating bacteria in relation to no-tillage at the time of transplanting muskmelon and at 40 DAT. The tillage systems and soil cover did not change the total amount of fungi and fluorescent Pseudomonas sp. <![CDATA[Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks and Humic Fractions in Brazilian Organosols]]> ABSTRACT Despite limited geographic expression of Organosols in Brazil, their high carbon storage capacity and natural environmental vulnerability justifies further studies on C and N stocks in these soils and their relationship to the nature of organic matter. Evaluation of physical and chemical properties of organic soils and their ability to store C is important so as to develop sustainable management practices for their preservation. The objectives of the study were to measure the total organic carbon stock (OCst), total nitrogen stock (Nst), and humic fractions in Organosols from different environments and regions of Brazil, and to correlate the data with soil chemical (pH, P, K, Ca2+, Mg2+, Al3+, H+Al, CEC, V) and physical properties (soil bulk density, Bd; organic matter density, OMd; total pore space, TPS; minimum residue, MinR; and proportion of mineral matter, MM), and degree of organic matter decomposition (rubbed fiber content; pyrophosphate index, PyI; and von Post index). For that purpose, 18 Organosol profiles, in a total of 49 horizons, were sampled under different land usage and plant coverage conditions. The profiles were located in the following Brazilian states - Alagoas, Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo. The OCst and Nst varied significantly among horizons and profiles. The Organosols exhibited, on average, 203.59 Mg ha-1 OCst and 8.30 Mg ha-1 Nst, and the highest values were found in profiles with pasture usage. The content of the humic fraction (humin, HUM; fulvic acid, FAF; and humic acid, HAF) and C storage varied in the soil horizons and profiles according to the degree of decomposition and other factors of soil formation. The OCst, Nst, OMd and the C stocks in the humic fractions were positively correlated. The values of acidity were lower in the soils with higher contents of mineral material, and low pH values were related to a high C/N ratio. The OCst and Nst were correlated with different soil properties, the most important being the degree of soil organic matter decomposition, which was inversely correlated. <![CDATA[Litter Decomposition of Two Pioneer Tree Species and Associated Soil Fauna in Areas Reclaimed after Surface Coal Mining in Southern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Decomposition of leaf litter from pioneer tree species and development of associated soil meso- and macrofauna are fundamental for rehabilitation processes in reclaimed coal mining areas. The aim of our study was to evaluate decomposition of Schinus terebinthifolius and Senna multijuga to answer three basic questions: (i) What type of leaf litter degrades faster in reclaimed coal min\ing areas? (ii) Is leaf decomposition correlated with the stage of regeneration and exposure time? and (iii) Does the type of leaf litter influence the diversity and abundance of the soil meso- and macrofauna species collected? Experiments were carried out in the state of Santa Catarina in three areas at different stages of regeneration. A total of 32 litter bags (16 per plant species) were used per study site, and they were divided into four blocks along a transect. Sampling was carried out at 15, 30, 60, and 120 days, when one litter bag per species/block was removed at random. We found no statistically significant difference between S. terebinthifolius and S. multijuga in regard to leaf-litter decomposition rate. However, the “area”, “litter bag exposure time” and “fauna richness” factors were significant. Therefore, shading and time of reclamation of areas contribute to an increase in decomposition rate and in development of soil meso- and macrofauna communities. <![CDATA[Thermal Transformation and Characterization of Synthetic Al-Substituted Maghemites (γ-Fe<sub>2-x</sub>Al<sub>x</sub>O<sub>3</sub>)]]> ABSTRACT Burning is a common practice in tropical areas and related changes in mineralogy might affect the chemical and physical behavior of soils. Maghemite is a common iron oxide in soils formed from basic rocks in tropical regions. This mineral and hematite are the main pigments in these soils and exhibit high magnetization stemming from the precursor magnetite formed during the weathering process of primary minerals. The objective of the present study was to analyze changes in color, magnetic suceptibility values, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra, and available Fe and Al contents extracted with 1 mol L-1 KCl during the process of thermal transformation of synthetic Al-maghemites into Al-hematites. Synthetic substituted maghemites with different degrees of Al-substitution (0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 2.9, 3.8, 5.6, 6.7, 10.0, 12.0, and 17.1 mol% Al) were subjected to a temperature of 500 ± 10 °C for 0, 5, 10, 16, 64, 128, 192, 360, 720, 2160, 3600, 5040 and 6480 min. The color of the samples was analyzed by a Munsell system in a colorimeter. Mass-specific magnetic susceptibility (χLF) was measured at low-frequency. Available Fe and Al contents were estimated by a 1 mol L-1 KCl solution. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra were obtained through use of a Bruker Vertex 70X FTIR spectrophotometer at a spectral resolution of 4 cm-1. Contents of Fe and Al extracted by 1 mol L-1 KCl in Al-hematites were not detected. All samples analyzed exhibited YR hue. Hue proportion decreased with increased heating time, and color changed from brown to red. The increase in isomorphic substitution (IS) led to increased hue values from maghemite to hematite, and the latter then became yellower. The χLF values decreased with an increase in heating time, indicating transformation from a ferrimagnetic phase (maghemite) to an antiferrimagnetic phase (hematite). With increasing IS, the maghemite χLF values decreased. Bands of the initial members (time 0) in the FTIR spectra were indexed as maghemites. The end members after completion of the heat treatment were identified as hematites. The IS of Fe by Al in maghemite influenced the thermal transformation to hematite, as well as the color and χLF of the minerals. The χLF proved to be very efficient in detecting maghemites remaining after thermal processing. Fe and/or Al were not ejected from the hematite crystalline structure after heat treatment. <![CDATA[Comparing Methods for Extracting Heavy Metals from Histosols for Establishing Quality Reference Values]]> ABSTRACT The diversity of methods for heavy metal extraction from soils complicates comparison of results used by environmental agencies to establish quality reference values. The aim of this study was to evaluate three soil digestion methods regarding the solubilizing capacity of Ba, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn, and to propose a standard method to establish Quality Reference Values (QRVs) for Brazilian Histosols. Twenty soil samples were selected to evaluate the USEPA 3051, USEPA 3051A and Aqua Regia methods in a closed system. The methods tested were statistically similar regarding Cu, Fe and Mn extraction from soils. However, the methods can not be considered similar for Ba, Cr, Ni, Pb and Zn; Aqua Regia recorded the highest levels, except for Ba. The Aqua Regia method proved suitable for metal extraction from soils with organic characteristics and can be used to establish QRVs. <![CDATA[Physical Properties of a Hapludox after Three Decades under Different Soil Management Systems]]> ABSTRACT Changes in soil physical properties due to different management systems occur slowly, and long-term studies are needed to assess soil quality. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of soil management systems and liming methods on the physical properties of a Latossolo Bruno Alumínico típico (Hapludox). A long-term experiment that began in 1978 with conventional and no-tillage systems was assessed. In addition, different liming methods (no lime, incorporated lime, and lime on the soil surface) have been applied since 1987 and were also evaluated in this study. Moreover, an area of native forest was evaluated and considered a reference for the natural condition of the soil. Soil physical properties were evaluated in layers to a depth of 1.00 m. Compared to native forest, the conventional tillage and no-tillage systems had higher soil bulk density, penetration resistance, and microporosity, and lower aggregate stability and macroporosity. Compared to the conventional tillage system, long-term no-tillage improved the structure of the Hapludox, as evidenced by increased microporosity and aggregate stability, especially in the soil surface layer. In no-tillage with lime applications sporadically incorporated, soil physical properties did not differ from no-tillage without lime and with lime applied on the soil surface, indicating that this practice maintains the physical quality of soil under no-tillage. Liming in a conventional tillage system improved soil aggregation and reduces penetration resistance in the soil layers near the soil surface. No-tillage was the main practice related to improvement of soil physical quality, and liming methods did not influence soil physical properties in this soil management system. <![CDATA[Diagnosis of the Nutritional Status of Garlic Crops]]> ABSTRACT Univariate methods for diagnosing nutritional status such as the sufficiency range and the critical level for garlic crops are very susceptible to the effects of dilution and accumulation of nutrients. Therefore, this study aimed to establish bivariate and multivariate norms for this crop using the Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System (DRIS) and Nutritional Composition Diagnosis (CND), respectively. The criteria used were nutritional status and the sufficiency range, and then the diagnoses were compared. The study was performed in the region of Alto Paranaíba, MG, Brazil, during the crop seasons 2012 and 2013. Samples comprised 99 commercial fields of garlic, cultivated with the cultivar “Ito” and mostly established in Latossolo Vermelho-Amarelo Distrófico (Oxisol). Copper and K were the nutrients with the highest number of fields diagnosed as limiting by lack (LF) and limiting by excess (LE), respectively. The DRIS method presented greater tendency to diagnose LF, while the CND tended towards LE. The sufficiency range of both methods presented narrow ranges in relation to those suggested by the literature. Moreover, all ranges produced by the CND method provided narrower ranges than the DRIS method. The CND method showed better performance than DRIS in distinguishing crop yield covered by different diagnoses. Turning to the criterion of evaluation, the study found that nutritional status gave a better performance than sufficiency range in terms of distinguishing diagnoses regarding yield. <![CDATA[Organic and Nitrogen Fertilization of Soil under ‘Syrah’ Grapevine: Effects on Soil Chemical Properties and Nitrate Concentration]]> ABSTRACT Viticulture is an activity of great social and economic importance in the lower-middle region of the São Francisco River valley in northeastern Brazil. In this region, the fertility of soils under vineyards is generally poor. To assess the effects of organic and nitrogen fertilization on chemical properties and nitrate concentrations in an Argissolo Vermelho-Amarelo (Typic Plinthustalf), a field experiment was carried out in Petrolina, Pernambuco, on Syrah grapevines. Treatments consisted of two rates of organic fertilizer (0 and 30 m3 ha-1) and five N rates (0, 10, 20, 40, and 80 kg ha-1), in a randomized block design arranged in split plots, with five replications. The organic fertilizer levels represented the main plots and the N levels, the subplots. The source of N was urea and the source of organic fertilizer was goat manure. Irrigation was applied through a drip system and N by fertigation. At the end of the third growing season, soil chemical properties were determined and nitrate concentration in the soil solution (extracted by porous cups) was determined. Organic fertilization increased organic matter, pH, EC, P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, sum of bases, base saturation, and CEC, but decreased exchangeable Cu concentration in the soil by complexation of Cu in the organic matter. Organic fertilization raised the nitrate concentration in the 0.20-0.40 m soil layer, making it leachable. Nitrate concentration in the soil increased as N rates increased, up to more than 300 mg kg-1 in soil and nearly 800 mg L-1 in the soil solution, becoming prone to leaching losses. <![CDATA[Changes in Soil Organic Carbon Fractions in Response to Cover Crops in an Orange Orchard]]> ABSTRACT The cultivation of cover crops intercropped with fruit trees is an alternative to maintain mulch cover between plant rows and increase soil organic carbon (C) stocks. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in soil total organic C content and labile organic matter fractions in response to cover crop cultivation in an orange orchard. The experiment was performed in the state of Bahia, in a citrus orchard with cultivar ‘Pera’ orange (Citrus sinensis) at a spacing of 6 × 4 m. A randomized complete block design with three replications was used. The following species were used as cover crops: Brachiaria (Brachiaria decumbes) – BRAQ, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) – MIL, jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis) – JB, blend (50 % each) of jack bean + millet (JB/MIL), and spontaneous vegetation (SPV). The cover crops were broadcast-seeded between the rows of orange trees and mechanically mowed after flowering. Soil sampling at depths of 0.00-0.10, 0.10-0.20, and 0.20-0.40 m was performed in small soil trenches. The total soil organic C (SOC) content, light fraction (LF), and the particulate organic C (POC), and oxidizable organic C fractions were estimated. Total soil organic C content was not significantly changed by the cover crops, indicating low sensitivity in reacting to recent changes in soil organic matter due to management practices. Grasses enabled a greater accumulation of SOC stocks in 0.00-0.40 m compared to all other treatments. Jack bean cultivation increased LF and the most labile oxidizable organic C fraction (F1) in the soil surface and the deepest layer tested. Cover crop cultivation increased labile C in the 0.00-0.10 m layer, which can enhance soil microbial activity and nutrient absorption by the citrus trees. The fractions LF and F1 may be suitable indicators for monitoring changes in soil organic matter content due to changes in soil management practices. <![CDATA[Characterization of Ornamental Rock Residue and Potassium Liberation Via Organic Acid Application]]> ABSTRACT Organic acids present in organic matter and, or, exudates by microorganisms and plants can increase the liberation of potassium present in minerals. The objective of this study was to characterize the residue from ornamental rocks and evaluate the release of K from these residues after the application of organic acids. The experiment was conducted under laboratory conditions and followed a 2 × 3 × 5 factorial design with three replicates. The studied factors were: two organic acids (citric acid and malic acid), three ornamental rock residues (R1, R2 and R3) and five organic acid rates (0, 5, 10, 20 and 40 mmol L-1). After agitation, K concentrations were determined in the equilibrium solution. Successive extractions were performed (1, 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 days after the start of the experiment). The organic acids used (citric and malic) promoted the release of up to 4.86 and 4.34 % of the total K contained in the residue, respectively, reinforcing the role of organic acids in the weathering of minerals and in providing K to the soil. The K quantities were, on average, 6.1 % higher when extracted with citric acid compared to malic acid. <![CDATA[Phosphorus Forms in Ultisol Submitted to Burning and Trituration of Vegetation in Eastern Amazon]]> ABSTRACT The use of fire to prepare agricultural areas is a technique still used by small farmers in eastern Amazon. This type of management changes the dynamics of soil nutrients, especially phosphorus, which constitutes the most limiting nutrient for crop production in tropical soils. This study was carried out to evaluate changes in phosphorus forms in an Argissolo Amarelo Distrófico (Ultisol) submitted to burning and trituration of secondary forest in eastern Amazon. The evaluated systems were: slash-and-burn of vegetation; slash-and-mulch of vegetation; and secondary vegetation. The labile, moderately labile, moderately recalcitrant, available and total phosphorus fractions were assessed at the soil depths of 0.00-0.05, 0.05-0.10 and 0.10-0.20 m. The results showed a predominance of soluble P in acid (moderately labile P) over other forms in all management systems. The management systems influence the content and distribution of the forms of P, where the slash-and-mulch system presented the prevalence of the labile fraction, and the slash-and-burn system contained less labile forms. The slash-and-mulch system favored the accumulation of labile P and total organic P. <![CDATA[Carbon Stocks in Compartments of Soil Organic Matter 31 Years after Substitution of Native Cerrado Vegetation by Agroecosystems]]> ABSTRACT Changes in carbon stocks in different compartments of soil organic matter of a clayey Latossolo Vermelho Distrófico (Typic Haplustox), caused by the substitution of native savanna vegetation (cerrado sensu stricto) by agroecosystems, were assessed after 31 years of cultivation. Under native vegetation, a stock of 164.5 Mg ha-1 C was estimated in the 0.00-1.00 m layer. After 31 years of cultivation, these changes in soil C stocks were detected to a depth of 0.60 m. In the case of substitution of cerrado sensu stricto by no-tillage soybean-corn rotation, a reduction of at least 11 % of the soil C pools was observed. However, the adoption of no-tillage as an alternative to tillage with a moldboard plow (conventional system) reduced CO2 emissions by up to 12 %. <![CDATA[Cover Crops and Nitrogen Fertilization Effects on Nitrogen Soil Fractions under Corn Cultivation in a No-Tillage System]]> ABSTRACT The use of cover crops has recently increased and represents an essential practice for the sustainability of no-tillage systems in the Cerrado region. However, there is little information on the effects of nitrogen fertilization and cover crop use on nitrogen soil fractions. This study assessed changes in the N forms in soil cropped to cover crops prior to corn growing. The experiment consisted of a randomized complete block design arranged in split-plots with three replications. Cover crops were tested in the plots, and the N topdressing fertilization was assessed in the subplots. The following cover species were planted in succession to corn for eight years: Urochloa ruziziensis, Canavalia brasiliensis M. ex Benth, Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp, and Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench. After corn harvesting, the soil was sampled at depths of 0.00-0.10 and 0.10-0.20 m. The cover crops showed different effects at different soil depths. The soil cultivated with U. ruziziensis showed higher contents of total-N and particulate-N than the soil cultivated with C. cajan. Particulate-N was the most sensitive to changes in the soil management among the fractions of N assessed. The soil under N topdressing showed a lower content of available-N in the 0.10-0.20 m layer, which may be caused by the season in which the sampling was conducted or the greater uptake of the available-N by corn. <![CDATA[Background and Reference Values of Metals in Soils from Paraíba State, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Soil contamination by heavy metals threatens ecosystems and human health. Environmental monitoring bodies need reference values for these contaminants to assess the impacts of anthropogenic activities on soil contamination. Quality reference values (QRVs) reflect the natural concentrations of heavy metals in soils without anthropic interference and must be regionally established. The aim of this study was to determine the natural concentrations and quality reference values for the metals Ag, Ba, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb and Zn in soils of Paraíba state, Brazil. Soil samples were collected from 94 locations across the state in areas of native vegetation or with minimal anthropic interference. The quality reference values (QRVs) were (mg kg-1): Ag (&lt;0.53), Ba (117.41), Cd (0.08), Co (13.14), Cu (20.82), Cr (48.35), Mo (0.43), Ni (14.44), Sb (0.61), Pb (14.62) and Zn (33.65). Principal component analysis grouped the metals Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Sb (PC1); Ag (PC2); and Ba, Co, Fe, Mn and Zn (PC3). These values were made official by Paraíba state through Normativa Resolution 3602/2014. <![CDATA[Soil Physical Quality and Soybean Yield as Affected by Chiseling and Subsoiling of a No-Till Soil]]> ABSTRACT The concept of soil physical quality (SPQ) is currently under discussion, and an agreement about which soil physical properties should be included in the SPQ characterization has not been reached. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the ability of SPQ indicators based on static and dynamic soil properties to assess the effects of two loosening treatments (chisel plowing to 0.20 m [ChT] and subsoiling to 0.35 m [DL]) on a soil under NT and to compare the performance of static- and dynamic-based SPQ indicators to define soil proper soil conditions for soybean yield. Soil sampling and field determinations were carried out after crop harvest. Soil water retention curve was determined using a tension table, and field infiltration was measured using a tension disc infiltrometer. Most dynamic SPQ indicators (field saturated hydraulic conductivity, K0, effective macroporosity, εma, total connectivity and macroporosity indexes [CwTP and Cwmac]) were affected by the studied treatments, and were greater for DL compared to NT and ChT (K0 values were 2.17, 2.55, and 4.37 cm h-1 for NT, ChT, and DL, respectively). However, static SPQ indicators (calculated from the water retention curve) were not capable of distinguishing effects among treatments. Crop yield was significantly lower for the DL treatment (NT: 2,400 kg ha-1; ChT: 2,358 kg ha-1; and DL: 2,105 kg ha1), in agreement with significantly higher values of the dynamic SPQ indicators, K0, εma, CwTP, and Cwmac, in this treatment. The results support the idea that SPQ indicators based on static properties are not capable of distinguishing tillage effects and predicting crop yield, whereas dynamic SPQ indicators are useful for distinguishing tillage effects and can explain differences in crop yield when used together with information on weather conditions. However, future studies, monitoring years with different weather conditions, would be useful for increasing knowledge on this topic. <![CDATA[Sampling Position under No-Tillage System Affects the Results of Soil Physical Properties]]> ABSTRACT Understanding the spatial behavior of soil physical properties under no-tillage system (NT) is required for the adoption and maintenance of a sustainable soil management system. The aims of this study were to quantify soil bulk density (BD), porosity in the soil macropore domain (PORp) and in the soil matrix domain (PORm), air capacity in the soil matrix (ACm), field capacity (FC), and soil water storage capacity (FC/TP) in the row (R), interrow (IR), and intermediate position between R and IR (designated IP) in the 0.0-0.10 and 0.10-0.20 m soil layers under NT; and to verify if these soil properties have systematic variation in sampling positions related to rows and interrows of corn. Soil sampling was carried out in transect perpendicular to the corn rows in which 40 sampling points were selected at each position (R, IR, IP) and in each soil layer, obtaining undisturbed samples to determine the aforementioned soil physical properties. The influence of sampling position on systematic variation of soil physical properties was evaluated by spectral analysis. In the 0.0-0.1 m layer, tilling the crop rows at the time of planting led to differences in BD, PORp, ACm, FC and FC/TP only in the R position. In the R position, the FC/TP ratio was considered close to ideal (0.66), indicating good water and air availability at this sampling position. The R position also showed BD values lower than the critical bulk density that restricts root growth, suggesting good soil physical conditions for seed germination and plant establishment. Spectral analysis indicated that there was systematic variation in soil physical properties evaluated in the 0.0-0.1 m layer, except for PORm. These results indicated that the soil physical properties evaluated in the 0.0-0.1 m layer were associated with soil position in the rows and interrows of corn. Thus, proper assessment of soil physical properties under NT must take into consideration the sampling positions and previous location of crop rows and interrows. <![CDATA[Nitrogen and Potassium in Narrow-Row Cotton]]> ABSTRACT Information on fertilizer management for cotton in narrow-row cropping system is scarce; therefore, studies are needed to improve nutrient stewardship for such systems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of nitrogen and potassium application on yield and fiber quality of cotton under a narrow-row system. A field trial was carried out for three years, where the treatments were set up in an incomplete factorial arrangement [(4 × 4) + 1] under a randomized block design, with four N rates (20, 40, 60, and 80 kg ha-1), four K2O rates (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg ha-1), and one control (no N or K2O), for a total of 17 treatments, with four replicates. Urea and potassium chloride were applied on the soil surface 20 days after crop emergence. Varieties used were FMT 701 (2009/2010 and 2010/2011) and FMT 709 (2011/2012). Cotton yield and fiber quality parameters were measured. In the narrow-row cropping system, cotton lint yield was positively affected by N and K application. Cotton yield in relation to K applications was not dependent on N rates. Potassium application increased the micronaire index and fiber resistance, whereas high N rates reduced fiber resistance. <![CDATA[Water Erosion on an Oxisol under Integrated Crop-Forest Systems in a Transitional Area between the Amazon and <em>Cerrado</em> Biomes]]> ABSTRACT Water erosion is one of the main factors driving soil degradation, which has large economic and environmental impacts. Agricultural production systems that are able to provide soil and water conservation are of crucial importance in achieving more sustainable use of natural resources, such as soil and water. The aim of this study was to evaluate soil and water losses in different integrated production systems under natural rainfall. Experimental plots under six different land use and cover systems were established in an experimental field of Embrapa Agrossilvipastoril in Sinop, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in a Latossolo Vermelho-Amarelo Distrófico (Udox) with clayey texture. The treatments consisted of perennial pasture (PAS), crop-forest integration (CFI), eucalyptus plantation (EUC), soybean and corn crop succession (CRP), no ground cover (NGC), and forest (FRS). Soil losses in the treatments studied were below the soil loss limits (11.1 Mg ha-1 yr-1), with the exception of the plot under bare soil (NGC), which exhibited soil losses 30 % over the tolerance limit. Water losses on NGC, EUC, CRP, PAS, CFI and FRS were 33.8, 2.9, 2.4, 1.7, 2.4, and 0.5 % of the total rainfall during the period of study, respectively. <![CDATA[Water-Stable Aggregates and Associated Carbon in a Subtropical Rice Soil Under Variable Tillage]]> ABSTRACT Tillage systems can influence C sequestration by changing aggregate formation and C distribution within the aggregate. This study was undertaken to explore the impact of no-tillage without straw (NT-S) and with straw (NT+S), and moldboard plow without straw (MP-S) and with straw (MP+S), on soil aggregation and aggregate-associated C after six years of double rice planting in a Hydragric Anthrosol in Guangxi, southwest of China. Soil samples of 0.00-0.05, 0.05-0.20 and 0.20-0.30 m layers were wet-sieved and divided into four aggregate-size classes, &gt;2 mm, 2.00-0.25 mm, 0.25-0.053 and &lt;0.053 mm, respectively, for measuring aggregate associated C and humic and fulvic acids. Results showed that the soil organic carbon (SOC) stock in bulk soil was 40.2-51.1 % higher in the 0.00-0.05 m layer and 11.3-17.0 % lower in the 0.05-0.20 m layer in NT system (NT+S and NT-S) compared to the MP system (MP+S and MP-S), respectively. However, no statistical difference was found across the whole 0.00-0.30 m layer. The NT system increased the proportion of &gt;2 mm aggregate fraction and reduced the proportion of &lt;0.053 mm aggregates in both 0.00-0.05 and 0.05-0.20 m layers. The SOC concentration, SOC stock and humic and fulvic acids within the &gt;0.25 mm macroaggregate fraction also significantly increased in the 0.00-0.5 m layer in NT system. However, those within the 2.00-0.25 mm aggregate fraction were significantly reduced in the 0.05-0.200 m layer under NT system. Straw incorporation increased not only the SOC stock in bulk soil, but also the proportion of macroaggregate, aggregate associated with SOC and humic and fulvic acids concentration within the aggregate. The effect of straw on C sequestration might be dependent on the location of straw incorporation. In conclusion, the NT system increased the total SOC accumulation and humic and fulvic acids within macroaggregates, thus contributing to C sequestration in the 0.00-0.05 m layer. <![CDATA[Do Rates and Splitting of Phosphogypsum Applications Influence the Soil and Annual Crops in a No-Tillage System?]]> ABSTRACT Applications of phosphogypsum (PG) provide nutrients to the soil and reduce Al3+ activity, favoring soil fertility and root growth, but allow Mg2+ mobilization through the soil profile, resulting in variations in the PG rate required to achieve the optimum crop yield. This study evaluated the effect of application rates and splitting of PG on soil fertility of a Typic Hapludox, as well as the influence on annual crops under no-tillage. Using a (4 × 3) + 1 factorial structure, the treatments consisted of four PG rates (3, 6, 9, and 12 Mg ha-1) and three split applications (P1 = 100 % in 2009; P2 = 50+50 % in 2009 and 2010; P3 = 33+33+33 % in 2009, 2010 and 2011), plus a control without PG. The soil was sampled six months after the last PG application, in stratified layers to a depth of 0.8 m. Corn, wheat and soybean were sown between November 2011 and December 2012, and leaf samples were collected for analysis when at least 50 % of the plants showed reproductive structures. The application of PG increased Ca2+ concentrations in all sampled soil layers and the soil pH between 0.2 and 0.8 m, and reduced the concentrations of Al3+ in all layers and of Mg2+ to a depth of 0.6 m, without any effect of splitting the applications. The soil Ca/Mg ratio increased linearly to a depth of 0.6 m with the rates and were found to be higher in the 0.0-0.1 m layer of the P2 and P3 treatments than without splitting (P1). Sulfur concentrations increased linearly by application rates to a depth of 0.8 m, decreasing in the order P3&gt;P2&gt;P1 to a depth of 0.4 m and were higher in the treatments P3 and P2 than P1 between 0.4-0.6 m, whereas no differences were observed in the 0.6-0.8 m layer. No effect was recorded for K, P and potential acidity (H+Al). The leaf Ca and S concentration increased, while Mg decreased for all crops treated with PG, and there was no effect of splitting the application. The yield response of corn to PG rates was quadratic, with the maximum technical efficiency achieved at 6.38 Mg ha-1 of PG, while wheat yield increased linearly in a growing season with a drought period. Soybean yield was not affected by the PG rate, and splitting had no effect on the yield of any of the crops. Phosphogypsum improved soil fertility in the profile, however, Mg2+ migrated downwards, regardless of application splitting. Splitting the PG application induced a higher Ca/Mg ratio in the 0.0-0.1 m layer and less S leaching, but did not affect the crop yield. The application rates had no effect on soybean yield, but were beneficial for corn and, especially, for wheat, which was affected by a drought period during growth. <![CDATA[Behavior of <em>Eucalyptus urophylla</em> and <em>Eucalyptus citriodora</em> Seedlings Grown in Soil Contaminated by Arsenate]]> ABSTRACT Persistent areas of tailings and deposits from coal and gold mining may present high levels of arsenic (As), mainly in the arsenate form, endangering the environment and human health. The establishment of vegetation cover is a key step to reclaiming these environments. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the potential of Eucalyptus urophylla and E. citriodora seedlings for use in phytoremediation programs of arsenate-contaminated areas. Soil samples were incubated at increasing rates (0, 50, 100, 200 and 400 mg dm-3) of arsenic (arsenate form, using Na2HAsO4) for 15 days. The seedlings were produced in a substrate (vermiculite + sawdust) and were transplanted to the pots with soil three months after seed germination. The values of plant height and diameter were taken during transplanting and 30, 60 and 90 days after transplanting. In the last evaluation, the total leaf area and biomass of shoots and roots were also determined. The values of available As in soil which caused a 50 % dry matter reduction (TS50%), the As translocation index (TI) from the roots to the shoot of the plants, and its bioconcentration factor (BF) were also calculated. Higher levels of arsenate in the soil significantly reduced the dry matter production of roots and shoots and the height of both species, most notably in E. urophylla plants. The highest levels of As were found in the root, with higher values for E. citriodora (ranging from 253.86 to 400 mg dm-3). The TI and BF were also reduced with As doses, but the values found in E. citriodora were significantly higher than in E. urophylla. E. citriodora plants presented a higher capacity to tolerate As and translocate it to the shoot than E. urophylla. Although these species cannot be considered as hyperaccumulators of As, E. citriodora presented the potential to be used in phytoremediation programs in arsenate-contaminated areas due to the long-term growth period of this species. <![CDATA[Diagnostic Methods to Assess the Nutritional Status of the Carrot Crop]]> ABSTRACT Leaf analysis may identify nutrient deficiency or excess in plant tissue. The aim of this study was to determine reference values and generate nutritional diagnosis from the results of leaf analysis of the carrot crop (Daucus carota L.) by the methods of Critical Level, Sufficiency Range, Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System, and Compositional Nutrient Diagnosis. Contents of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn were determined in 210 carrot fields in the 2012 and 2013 crop seasons in the Alto Paranaíba region, MG, Brazil. The whole plant shoot was sampled at harvest time to generate reference values for diagnosis. The high yielding subpopulation showed yield higher than 87.8 Mg ha-1. The four diagnostic methods generated similar reference values of nutrients, but different from those found in the literature. Leaf diagnosis through nutrient content in the shoot at harvest time indicated Mn as the most limiting nutrient for growing carrot, followed by Mg, K, and Ca. <![CDATA[Autumn Maize Intercropped with Tropical Forages: Crop Residues, Nutrient Cycling, Subsequent Soybean and Soil Quality]]> ABSTRACT Autumn maize intercropped with tropical forages can raise the amount of crop residues and improve nutrient cycling, favoring subsequent soybean crop. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of forms of implementation of intercropping of irrigated autumn maize with tropical forages on yield, decomposition, nutrient accumulation and release, and on the ratio of lignin/total N of forage residues, yield components, and grain yield of subsequent soybean, and on soil physical and chemical properties, under no-tillage in lowland Cerrado. The experiment was arranged in randomized blocks in a factorial (4 × 3 + 1) design with one control and four replications. The treatments consisted of four forages: Palisade grass, Congo grass, and two Guinea grass cultivars (Tanzânia and Áries); and three methods of sowing intercrops of forage-autumn maize: forage sown simultaneously with maize in the sowing furrow, mixed with fertilizer; forage sown by broadcasting on the day of maize sowing; and forage seeds mixed with fertilizer broadcast on maize in growth stage V4; plus a control (maize monoculture). The decomposition and nutrient release rate of the forage residues were evaluated by the litter bag method, 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after desiccation. Sowing the forages in the furrow and by broadcasting raise the total amount of maize residues compared to method V4. Regardless of the forage type and sowing methods, intercropping increases the amount of residues compared to maize monoculture. The forages and sowing methods had no influence on nutrient accumulation in the residues at the time of desiccation and at the lowest lignin/total N ratio in Congo grass residues, and a logarithmic decay was observed. Forage and sowing methods did not influence the macronutrient release rate from crop residues for 120 days after desiccation; the release of N, P, K and Mg is logarithmic and the release of Ca and S exponential. Forage and sowing methods do not influence yield components and grain yield of subsequent soybean. However, intercropping increased grain yield of subsequent soybean compared to soybean after maize monoculture, and preserved the soil chemical and physical properties. <![CDATA[Changes in Soil Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks in Long-Term Experiments in Southern Brazil Simulated with Century 4.5]]> ABSTRACT The Century model has successfully simulated soil organic matter dynamics in many agroecosystems. However, initial applications in southern Brazil produced mixed results. The objective of this study was to calibrate and validate Century 4.5 to simulate soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics under diverse soil management practices in subtropical Brazil. Soil C and N data from two long-term experiments established on a degraded Acrisol in the early 1980s were used. Treatments were conventional or no-tillage; grass or grass/legume cropping systems; and corn with or without mineral N fertilizer. The calibration process iteratively modified model parameters to match simulated values of C additions and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) and Soil Organic Nitrogen (SON) stocks to field data measured throughout the 25 years of the experiments. Improved fit between measured and observed data was obtained after key parameter changes. Soil C and N stocks were simulated accurately after these modifications were implemented. Other experimental treatments were used to validate the model. Century successfully simulated increases in C and N stocks under no-tillage cropping systems including legumes. However, the model overestimated Soil Organic Matter (SOM) decomposition in treatments with low N availability, like oat/corn without N fertilizer. Overall, Century version 4.5 showed adequate performance in simulating C and N trajectories of contrasting cropping systems commonly found in southern Brazil. The few discrepancies between measured and modeled SOC stocks do not preclude using Century in regional-scale applications to assess impacts of agricultural practices on soil C and N in southern Brazil. <![CDATA[Cover Crops Effects on Soil Chemical Properties and Onion Yield]]> ABSTRACT Cover crops contribute to nutrient cycling and may improve soil chemical properties and, consequently, increase crop yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate cover crop residue decomposition and nutrient release, and the effects of these plants on soil chemical properties and on onion (Allium cepa L.) yield in a no-tillage system. The experiment was carried out in an Inceptisol in southern Brazil, where cover crops were sown in April 2012 and 2013. In July 2013, shoots of weeds (WD), black oats (BO), rye (RY), oilseed radish (RD), oilseed radish + black oats (RD + BO), and oilseed radish + rye (RD + RY) were cut at ground level and part of these material from each treatment was placed in litter bags. The litter bags were distributed on the soil surface and were collected at 0, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 days after distribution (DAD). The residues in the litter bags were dried, weighed, and ground, and then analyzed to quantify lignin, cellulose, non-structural biomass, total organic carbon (TOC), N, P, K, Ca, and Mg. In November 2012 and 2013, onion crops were harvested to quantify yield, and bulbs were classified according to diameter, and the number of rotted and flowering bulbs was determined. Soil in the 0.00-0.10 m layer was collected for chemical analysis before transplanting and after harvesting onion in December 2012 and 2013. The rye plant residues presented the highest half-life and they released less nutrients until 90 DAD. The great permanence of rye residue was considered a protection to soil surface, the opposite was observed with spontaneous vegetation. The cultivation and addition of dry residue of cover crops increased the onion yield at 2.5 Mg ha-1. <![CDATA[Macronutrient Uptake and Removal by Upland Rice Cultivars with Different Plant Architecture]]> ABSTRACT Modern high-yielding rice cultivars possibly take up and remove greater quantities of macronutrients than traditional and intermediate cultivars. This study was carried out with the aim of evaluating the extraction and removal of macronutrients by upland rice cultivars. These information are of utmost importance for the correct fertilizer management. The treatments consisted of three upland rice cultivars (Caiapó, a traditional type; BRS Primavera, an intermediate type; and Maravilha, a modern type). Macronutrient accumulation by rice cultivars up to the end of tillering (46 DAE) accounted for only 25 % of the total N and P, and between 35-45 % of the total K, Ca, Mg, and S; after that time, accumulation was intensified. In all of the cultivars, the period of greatest nutrient uptake occurred from 45 to 60 DAE for K, Ca, Mg, and S, and after 65 DAE for N. Phosphorus was taken up at greater rates at 70 DAE by the cultivar BRS Primavera and after 90 DAE by the cultivars Caiapó and Maravilha. The cultivars of the traditional (Caiapó) and intermediate (BRS Primavera) groups took up greater amounts of Ca (143 kg ha-1), Mg (46-53 kg ha-1), and S (45-52 kg ha-1), but amounts of N (147-156 kg ha-1) and P (18-19 kg ha-1) were similar to those of the cultivar of the modern group (Maravilha). Caiapó cultivar took up more K (245 kg ha-1) than other cultivars (204-207 kg ha-1). The cultivars Caiapó and Maravilha showed similar grain yield (4,157 and 4,094 kg ha-1); however, this was lower than the grain yield of cultivar BRS Primavera (6,010 kg ha-1). Cultivars with greater yield levels did not necessarily exhibit a greater uptake and removal of nutrients per area, even if they had greater capacity for conversion of the nutrients taken up into the biomass. <![CDATA[Micronutrient and Silicon Uptake and Removal by Upland Rice Cultivars with Different Plant Architecture]]> ABSTRACT Upland rice cultivars manifest different nutritional demands. A field study was conducted to quantify the extraction, distribution, and removal of micronutrients and silicon by the upland rice cultivars. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block-split plot design. Plots consisted of three cultivars (Caiapó – traditional, BRS Primavera – intermediate, and Maravilha – modern) of upland rice. Split-plots consisted of plant samplings, which occurred at 39, 46, 55, 67, 75, 83, 92, 102, 111, 118, and 125 days after emergence (DAE). Up to the end of tillering (46 DAE), all cultivars exhibited low demand for most micronutrients and Si, and took up less than 24 % of the total B, Cu, and Si, but around 31 % of the total Zn. The period of greatest uptake of micronutrients and Si occurred from 65 to 80 DAE in the Caiapó and BRS Primavera cultivars, and after 80 DAE in the Maravilha cultivar. The Caiapó and BRS Primavera cultivars took up their necessary demand of B, Mn, and Fe in the first 98 DAE and Cu, Zn, and Si up to 105 DAE, but the Maravilha cultivar took up these nutrients for two to three weeks longer. The quantities of micronutrients and Si taken up by cultivars Caiapó, BRS Primavera, and Maravilha did not exhibit large differences, and these cultivars took up between 98-135 g B, 103-110 g Cu, 1,157-1,460 g Fe, 1,278-1,424 g Mn, 240-285 g Zn, and 111-124 kg Si per hectare. The BRS Primavera cultivar showed greater removal of nutrients, with average amounts per hectare of 19.7 g B, 25.8 g Cu, 200 g Fe, 234.2 g Mn, 102.4 g Zn, and 32.6 kg Si, while the other cultivars removed smaller amounts per hectare (14.4 g B, 19.9 g Cu, 160.7 g Fe, 136.3 g Mn, 67 g Zn, and 21.9 kg Si). The BRS Primavera showed a greater removal of nutrients because it has a higher yield and allocates a greater quantity of nutrients to the panicles. <![CDATA[Effectiveness of Five Biosolids as Nitrogen Sources to Produce Single and Cumulative Ryegrass Harvests in Two Australian Soils]]> ABSTRACT Biosolids have been produced by various stabilization processes of sewage sludge, but little attention has been given to the effects of such treatments on their effectiveness to supply nitrogen for plant growth. Here, we investigated these effects by cultivating Lolium perenne (ryegrass) in two Australian soils, a sandy Spodosol and a clayey Oxisol. Biosolids stabilized by either aerobic digestion, composting, CaO-liming, 250 oC heat-drying or solar irradiation of domestic sewage sludge were applied to soils at 10 increasing rates (0.25-8.0 dry Mg ha-1), and chemically fertilized soils were used as reference. Results showed that the stabilization processes affected biosolids-N agronomic rates and effectiveness to yield plant biomass, which was a function of organic-N contents mineralized in soils. In the short term, biosolids were from 1/5 (digested biosolids in Oxisol) to over twice (solar-irradiated biosolids in Spodosol) as effective as chemical fertilizer to produce a first single harvest. As long-term N-sources, they significantly increased the effectiveness to produce plant biomass, being from 2.0 to 4.1 times more effective than chemical fertilizer in Spodosol and 1.5-2.4 times in Oxisol. Biosolids could substitute for N fertilizer with similar or higher effectiveness to yield plant biomass, depending on the sewage sludge stabilization process, soil type and cultivation term considered. Therefore, the sound management of sewage products as N sources for crop production should consider the interaction among these factors rather than solely their N content. <![CDATA[Spatial and Temporal Variability of Soil CO<sub>2</sub> Flux in Sugarcane Green Harvest Systems]]> ABSTRACT The sugarcane green harvest system, characterized by mechanized harvesting and the absence of crop burning, affects soil quality by increasing crop residue on the soil surface after harvest; thus, it contributes to improving the physical, chemical, and microbiological properties and influences the soil carbon content and CO2 flux (FCO2). This study aimed to evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of soil FCO2 in sugarcane green harvest systems. The experiment was conducted in two areas of sugarcane in São Paulo, Brazil: the first had a 5-year history of sugarcane green harvest (SG-5) and the second had a longer history of 10 years (SG-10). The temporal FCO2 were evaluated in the dry and rainy periods, and spatial variability in the dry period, and related to soil chemical and physical properties, including organic C porosity, bulk density, soil penetration resistance, mean weight diameter of soil aggregates, clay, P, S, Ca, Mg and Fe. The temporal variability indicated no differences between the dry and rainy periods in SG-10, while in SG-5 soil moisture was increased by 33 % in the rainy period. The spatial variability indicated a different pattern from the temporal one, where FCO2 in SG-10 was correlated with soil temperature, air-filled pore space, total porosity, soil moisture, and the Ca and Mg contents; in the SG-5 area, FCO2 was correlated with soil mean weight diameter of soil aggregates and the sulfur content. <![CDATA[Composition of Poultry Litter in Southern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Determining the chemical composition of poultry litter is important in order to apply this waste as soil fertilizer without causing negative environmental impacts. The aim of this study was to evaluate the average and variability of some chemical parameters of 165 samples of poultry litter produced from confined animal production facilities located in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, Southern of Brazil. Samples of approximately 5.0 L were collected on 20 points from the truck at the time the material was unloaded into the application sites. Subsequently, they were oven-dried at 65 °C and analyzed. Values of pH in water, dry matter, N, P and K were determined in all samples; N soluble in water (soluble-N), ammonium (NH+4-N) and nitrate (NO−3-N) were quantified in 50 samples; organic carbon (organic-C) and C/N ratio were assessed in 20 samples. There was large variation in the contents of N, P2O5 and K2O among samples, with the average accounting for 2.2, 3.0 and 2.9 %, respectively; these nutrients correlated with each other. More than 90 % of the N was in the organic form, into which the fraction soluble in water accounted for 21.8 % of the total. Inorganic N was predominantly in the form of ammonium (NH+4-N), and nitrate (NO−3-N) was absent. Average dry matter was 64.3 %, with a median of 66.5 %; pH was always alkaline (average of 7.8), with a low variation coefficient (7.4 %), and was negatively correlated with NH+4-N. The average of organic C and C/N ratio in dry matter was 28.3 % and 11.2, respectively, which results in the immediate release of N to the soil, with no microorganism immobilization. The chemical composition of poultry litters produced in confined systems in Southern Brazil is widely variable. Thus, to be successfully used as soil fertilizer, it is essential to know their composition, mainly in terms of moisture N, P2O5 and K2O contents. <![CDATA[Corn Yield and Foliar Diagnosis Affected by Nitrogen Fertilization and Inoculation with <em>Azospirillum brasilense</em>]]> ABSTRACT The biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) process in grasses is caused by diazotrophic bacteria, particularly Azospirillum brasilense. However, studies are lacking on BNF efficiency to define how much mineral nitrogen (N) can be applied to achieve more sustainable high yields. Furthermore, there should be an analysis of whether urea with the urease enzyme inhibitor NBPT is less harmful, benefiting BNF in grasses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of N sources and N rates associated with inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense regarding foliar diagnosis and leaf chlorophyll index (LCI), agronomic efficiency (AE), and corn grain yield in the Cerrado (Brazilian tropical savanna) region. The experiment was conducted in a no-tillage system in a Latossolo Vermelho Distroférrico (Oxisol). A randomized block experimental design was used with four replications in a 2 × 5 × 2 factorial arrangement as follows: two N sources - urea and Super N, urea with urease enzyme inhibitor NBPT [N - (n-butyl thiophosphoric triamide)]; five N rates (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 kg ha-1) applied in topdressing; and two seed inoculation treatments, one with and one without A. brasilense. N rate positively influenced the LCI and concentrations of N, S, and Mn in leaves, and may increase the concentrations of P, Cu, and Fe; however, higher N rates can reduce AE. The N sources had similar effects, and therefore urea is recommended for N fertilization. Inoculation with A. brasilense decreased leaf concentration of Fe and increased LCI, leaf concentration of P, AE, and corn grain yield; the use of this diazotrophic bacterium is therefore viable even when high rates of N are applied. <![CDATA[Soil Chemical and Physical Properties on an Inceptisol after Liming (Surface and Incorporated) Associated with Gypsum Application]]> ABSTRACT Inceptsoils have high aluminum contents, and amendments are required to ensure a satisfactory crop development. Liming is efficient in neutralizing Al3+, but when applied to the topsoil its action is restricted to the surface layers, and sometimes lime incorporation into the soil is recommendable. However, tillage may negatively alter physical soil properties. Thus, gypsum could be an alternative to increase Ca2+ levels and reduce Al saturation in deeper layers, without requiring tillage. An experiment was initiated in 2010, to assess chemical and physical soil properties. Soil samples were collected in February 2013. A random block design with sub-subplots and two replications was used. Lime was applied to the surface of the main plot (0, 8 and 16 Mg ha-1) and incorporated into the soil by plowing and light harrowing. Gypsum was applied to the subplot (0 and 6 Mg ha-1), and the sub-subplots corresponded to the sampled layers (thickness of 0.05 m, to a depth of 0.25 m). The following parameters were evaluated: pH in water, base saturation, Al saturation, Ca2+, Mg2+, soil organic matter, water retention, and least limiting water range (LLWR). Lime incorporated into the soil reduced Al3+ and increased pH and Ca2+ levels, especially in the deeper soil layers, although pH levels did not exceed 5.1 and base saturation was lower than 60 %, still inadequate for crops. The gypsum rate of 6 Mg ha-1 did not decrease Al saturation, but reduced Mg2+ levels in top soil layers. Soil water retention and LLWR were not affected by plowing and harrowing within a period of three years. Gypsum rates below 6 Mg ha-1 were not effective in reducing Al saturation and increasing Ca2+ levels. Incorporated lime is more effective in correcting the acidity of the soil profile and, after three years, soil water retention and LLWR were similar under both liming methods. <![CDATA[Solubility of Heavy Metals/Metalloid on Multi-Metal Contaminated Soil Samples from a Gold Ore Processing Area: Effects of Humic Substances]]> ABSTRACT Bioavailability of heavy metals at contaminated sites is largely controlled by the physicochemical properties of the environmental media such as dissolved organic matter, hydroxides and clay colloids, pH, soil cation exchange capacity and oxidation-reduction potential. The aim of this study was to investigate soil pH and heavy metal solubility effect by levels of humic and fulvic acids applied in soil samples with different levels of contamination by heavy metals. The soil samples used in this study were collected in a known metal-contaminated site. Humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) were purchased as a commercially available liquid material extracted from Leonardite. The experiment was carried out in a factorial scheme of 4 × (4 + 1), with four contaminated soil samples and four treatments, comprised of two levels of HA, two levels of FA and a control. The HA treatments increased the solubility of Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, Cd, Pb, As and Ba from soils, while FA treatments decreased, thus raising or not their availability and mobility in soil. Humic acid concentration did not influence soil pH and FA decreased soil pH until 0.7 units. The initial heavy metal concentration in soil affects the magnitude of the processes involving humic substances. The lower releases of heavy metals by FA verified the importance of the complexation properties of organic compounds. These results appear to encourage the use of HA for increased plant-availability of heavy metals in remediation projects and the use of FA for decreased plant-availability of heavy metals at contaminated sites with a risk of introducing metals into the food chain. <![CDATA[Initial Recovery of Organic Matter of a Grass-Covered Constructed Soil after Coal Mining]]> ABSTRACT Revegetation is essential to improve the quality of constructed soils. This study investigated effects of perennial grasses on total organic carbon (TOC) stock, organic matter (OM) fractions and on quality of a recently constructed soil, after coal mining. Soil samples were collected from the 0.00-0.03 m layer two years after the beginning of the experiment. The treatments consisted of Cynodon dactylon cv vaquero (T1); Urochloa brizantha (T2); Panicum maximun (T3); Urochloa humidicola (T4); Hemarthria altissima (T5); Cynodon dactylon cv tifton (T6); bare constructed soil (T8); and natural soil (T9). The treatments with grass species increased the TOC stock by 57 % and increased the OM lability in comparison with T8. Higher C accumulation in the coarse and free light fractions and a higher C management index were observed in T2 and T3, indicating greater suitability of these species for the initial recovery of OM of the constructed soil. <![CDATA[Hydrophysical Quality of an Oxisol and Sugarcane Yield in Chisel Plow-Based Sugarcane Ratoon Management]]> ABSTRACT Mechanical harvesting has increasingly been used in sugarcane production units, and it has often resulted in reduced structural quality of the soil due to soil compaction caused by machine traffic. Thus, sugarcane ratoon crops have often been chiseled to overcome such a problem. The aim of the current study is to assess some physical properties of a Latossolo Vermelho Distroférrico (Rhodic Hapludox) that was chiseled after the third harvest in a sugarcane ratoon crop. The study was conducted in a commercial crop area throughout the 2011/2012 crop year. A randomized block experimental design was used, with five replications. The treatments consisted of five chiseling operations in sugarcane ratoon crops, namely: T1 - single-shank ripper with chiseling to a depth of 0.15 m; T2 - single-shank ripper with chiseling to a depth of 0.30 m; T3 - two-bar ripper with chiseling to a depth of 0.15 m, T4 - two-bar ripper with chiseling to a depth of 0.30 m; and T5 - control group, with no chiseling. Overall, soil chiseling is effective for improving the physical quality of the soil to a depth of 0.15 m, regardless of the equipment and the depth. Two-bar-ripper-based soil chiseling to a depth of 0.30 m provides increased sugarcane yield. <![CDATA[Soil Solution Nutrient Availability, Nutritional Status and Yield of Corn Grown in a Typic Hapludox under Twelve Years of Pig Slurry Fertilizations]]> ABSTRACT Nutrient content in soil solution may vary in response to the applied amount of pig slurry (PS). Thus, the aim of this research was to evaluate the nutrient content in soil solution and its relationship to nutritional status and yield of corn under 12 years of annual fertilization with increasing doses of PS, soluble mineral fertilizer (MF) and PS combined with MF. The experiment was conducted under field conditions in a Latossolo Vermelho Distroférrico (Typic Hapludox). The treatments consisted of pig slurry at annual rates of 50 and 100 m3 ha-1 (PS50 and PS100), soluble mineral fertilizer (MF), and pig slurry at a rate of 25 m3 ha-1 complemented with mineral fertilizer (PS25 + MF), distributed in a randomized block design. Soil solution was sampled at two depths, 0.40 and 0.80 m, on six dates after the fertilizer applications. The nitrate (NO−3-N) and K levels in the soil solution were measured 40, 108 and 135 days after the last application of fertilizer (DAAF), being subsequently correlated with corn yield. PS50 provide contents of NO−3-N, P and K to the soil solution similar to those supplied by MF or PS25+MF. The critical limit of 10 mg L-1 NO−3-N in the soil solution was exceeded on 108, 135 and 230 DAAF, at rates of 100 and 50 m3 ha1 of PS and on 230 DAAF when using MF. <![CDATA[Soil Fertility and Electrical Conductivity Affected by Organic Waste Rates and Nutrient Inputs]]> ABSTRACT The composition of organic waste (OW) and its effect on soil processes may change soil fertility and electrical conductivity (EC). The side effects of waste use in crop fertilization are poorly understood for Brazilian soils. This study examined the effect of the addition of 15 different organic wastes to Oxisols and a Neosol on pH, base saturation, EC, cation exchange capacity (CEC at pH 7), and the availability of Al, macro (P, K, Ca2+, Mg2+ and S) and micronutrients (B, Fe2+, Mn2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+). Soil samples (150 g) were treated with chicken, pig, horse, cattle, and quail manures, sewage sludge 1 and 2, eucalyptus sawdust, plant substrate, coconut fiber, pine bark, coffee husk, peat, limed compost, and biochar. Wastes were added considering a fixed amount of C (2 g kg-1), which resulted in waste rates ranging from 2.5 to 25.6 Mg ha-1. The soil-waste mixtures were incubated for 330 days in laboratory conditions. The waste liming or acidification values were soil-dependent. The use of some manures and compost increased the pH to levels above of those considered adequate for plant growth. The soil EC was slightly increased in the Neosol and in the medium textured Oxisol, but it was sharply changed (from 195 to 394 µS cm-1) by the addition of organic wastes in the clayey Oxisol, although the EC values were below the range considered safe for plant growth. Changes in the soil availability of P, K+, Ca2+ and Zn2+ were highly related to the inputs of these nutrients by the wastes, and other factors in soil changed due to waste use. Organic waste use simultaneously affects different soil fertility attributes; thus, in addition to the target nutrient added to the soil, the soil acidity buffering capacity and the waste liming and agronomic value must be taken into account in the waste rate definition. <![CDATA[Successive Cultivation of Soybean/Corn Intercropped with <em>Urochloa brizantha</em> topdressed with Nitrogen]]> ABSTRACT Corn intercropped with Urochloa brizantha (Syn, Brachiaria brizantha) has been indicated as a suitable alternative management practice for rational land use in crop-livestock production systems in the Cerrado region of Brazil. An experiment was carried out in Maracaju, MS, Brazil to evaluate the effect of sequences of soybean/second-crop corn systems intercropped with Urochloa brizantha and the effects of forms of nitrogen on soil chemical and physical properties. A randomized block experimental design was used with four replications; treatments were in a 2 × 4 factorial arrangement with two systems of crop management: second-crop corn intercropped with Urochloa brizantha, and monoculture of second crop corn; and four forms of topdressing N: urea, urea + ammonium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, and no N supply. The following chemical properties were evaluated: soil organic matter and exchangeable K contents, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, and K saturation; as well as the physical properties: soil bulk density and aggregate stability. Crop residue cover and agronomic traits of soybean were also assessed. Intercropping induced significant differences in crop residue cover, plant height, soybean yield, stand, 100-seed weight, soil organic matter, exchangeable K, and K saturation in the exchange complex. There was no significant effect of the crop sequences on soil bulk density and mean weight and geometric mean diameter of water-stable aggregates. No significant effect of forms of N was observed on any chemical or physical properties, or on those related to soybean development. <![CDATA[Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilization in a Guava Orchard Evaluated for Five Cycles: Effects on the Plant and on Production]]> ABSTRACT Guava response to fertilization can be monitored through plant tissue analysis. Correct interpretation of these results, based on standard levels, is of great importance for correct nutrient management of the crop. However, standard levels are constantly criticized for not considering interactions among elements. To improve the nutritional diagnosis of ‘Paluma’ guava (Psidium guajava L., Myrtaceae), an experiment was conducted using nitrogen fertilization (0, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 kg per plant per cycle of N, with urea as a source with 45 % N), and potassium fertilization (0, 0.55, 1.1, and 2.2 kg per plant per cycle of K2O, with potassium chloride as a source with 60 % K2O) in an irrigated commercial area for five consecutive cycles, 2009 through 2012, observing the influence of fertilizers and climate and assessing yield and leaf element content, using the concept of isometric log ratios (ilr) to interpret leaf analysis results (N, P, Ca, Mg, K, and S). This paper showed that nutrient balances and nutrient concentration values can be interpreted coherently using compositional data analysis. Ranges of nutrient balances also were established for “Paluma” guava and validated through ranges grounded in nutrient contents currently used in Brazil. Nitrogen fertilization increased “Paluma” guava yield. The 0.5 kg N application rate per plant and the other studied treatments practically showed the same results, and their values were affected by pruning time as well as the nutrient balances. <![CDATA[Poultry Litter and Pig slurry Applications in an Integrated Crop-Livestock System]]> ABSTRACT Organic fertilizers derived from poultry litter and pig slurry are alternatives to mineral fertilizers in increasing soil nutrient availability. The aim of this study was to evaluate soil response, through characterization of organic C and available N, P, and K contents, and corn yield response to increasing amounts of poultry litter, pig slurry, and mineral fertilizers in an integrated crop-livestock production system (ICL) from 2011 to 2013. The experimental design consisted of randomized blocks in a 4 × 3 + 1 factorial arrangement with four replicates. The treatments consisted of four types of fertilizer, two organic (poultry litter and pig slurry) and two mineral, balanced with the same amounts of N, P and K as the organic fertilizers, one of which corresponded to the levels in the pig slurry (M1) and the other to the levels in the poultry litter (M2) in combination with three .increasing application rates of N (100, 200, and 300 kg ha-1 N) and control without fertilizer. For two years after implementing the ICL system, the application of the different rates of N using organic (pig slurry and poultry litter) or mineral (M1 and M2) fertilizers increased corn yields and K and P availability in the soil; these results were accompanied by small changes in organic C and total N content. There are similar efficiencies between the treatments pairs (pig slurry/M1 and poultry litter/M2). <![CDATA[Brachiaria as a Cover Crop to Improve Phosphorus Use Efficiency in a No-till Oxisol]]> ABSTRACT Oxidic soils are phosphorus drains in soil; hence, P availability is a limiting factor in tropical, weathered Oxidic soils. It has been shown that some brachiarias grown as cover crops may increase soil available P to subsequent crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate soil P cycling and availability, as well as the response of soybean to soluble and natural reactive phosphates as affected by ruzi grass (Urochloa ruziziensis, R. Germ. and C.M. Evrard, Crin) grown as a cover crop in a no-till system. Experimental treatments consisted of the presence or absence of ruzi grass in combination with a control (0.0 P) and soluble and reactive rock phosphate broadcast on the soil surface in the winter (80 kg ha-1 P2O5), plus three rates of P applied to soybean furrows (0, 30, and 60 kg ha-1 of P2O5) at planting, in the form of triple superphosphate. Soybean was cropped in two seasons: 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. Soil samples were taken before soybean planting (after desiccation of Brachiaria) at 0.00-0.05 and 0.05-0.10 m for soil available P. Total weight of dry matter and P accumulated in ruzi grass were determined, as well as soybean yields, P in soybean grains, and P use efficiency (PUE). The use of natural phosphate increased soil P availability. The highest yields were obtained with higher application rates of triple superphosphate in the planting furrow combined with broadcast rock phosphate. Broadcast application of Arad reactive phosphate increases and maintains soil available P, and this practice, associated with ruzi grass grown as a cover crop and the use of triple superphosphate applied to soybean furrows, results in higher use of P by soybeans. <![CDATA[Spatial Interpolation of Rainfall Erosivity Using Artificial Neural Networks for Southern Brazil Conditions]]> ABSTRACT Water erosion is the process of disaggregation and transport of sediments, and rainfall erosivity is a numerical value that expresses the erosive capacity of rain. The scarcity of information on rainfall erosivity makes it difficult or impossible to use to estimate losses occasioned by the erosive process. The objective of this study was to develop Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) for spatial interpolation of the monthly and annual values of rainfall erosivity at any location in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, and a software that enables the use of these networks in a simple and fast manner. This experiment used 103 rainfall stations in Rio Grande do Sul and their surrounding area to generate synthetic rainfall series on the software ClimaBR 2.0. Rainfall erosivity was determined by summing the values of the EI30 and KE &gt;25 indexes, considering two methodologies for obtaining the kinetic energy of rainfall. With these values of rainfall erosivity and latitude, longitude, and altitude of the stations, the ANNs were trained and tested for spatializations of rainfall erosivity. To facilitate the use of the ANNs, a computer program was generated, called netErosividade RS, which makes feasible the use of ANNs to estimate the values of rainfall erosivity for any location in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. <![CDATA[Potassium Fertilization for Long Term No-Till Crop Rotation in the Central-Southern Region of Paraná, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Fertilization programs for annual crops in the state of Paraná, southern Brazil, are based on studies that focused on conventional tillage and were established more than 30 years ago. The primary purpose of this study was to assess potassium (K) fertilization on long-term (&gt;30 years) no-tillage soybean, corn, wheat, and barley crops grown in rotation on Oxisols in the central-southern region of Paraná. A total of 47 experiments were carried out from 2008 to 2013, three of which addressed K calibration and the other 44, crop response to K fertilization. Critical K soil-test value and interpretation classes were established from the ratio between relative crop yield [RY = (yield without K/max yield) × 100] and soil K levels. Winter cereals were found to be more demanding of K than were soybean and corn; also, the former governed critical K soil-test value for crop rotation: 0.23 cmolc dm-3 in the 0.00-0.20 m soil layer. Recommended fertilization rates for soils in the low and medium soil K levels were established by using the build-up approach for soil correction; and those for the high and very high soil K levels were established by removing K at harvest and assessing economic return in crop response experiments. The K rates calculated for the high yield classes exceeded those currently recommended for use in Paraná. <![CDATA[Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilization in a Guava Orchard Evaluated for Five Cycles: Soil Cationic Balance]]> ABSTRACT Soil fertility evaluation through soil analysis traditionally does not consider interaction among elements. To include the interaction effect in interpretation of soil analyses, an experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilization (0, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 kg N per plant per cycle) with urea (45 % N) and potassium fertilization (0, 0.55, 1.1, and 2.2 kg K2O per plant per cycle) with potassium chloride (60 % K2O) on soil cationic balance. The experiment was carried out in an irrigated commercial production area of ‘Paluma’ guava, for five consecutive cycles, 2009 through 2012, using the concept of isometric log ratio (ilr) to evaluate soil cationic balance through [K, Ca, Mg | H+Al], [K | Ca, Mg] and [Ca | Mg] balances. The compositional data analysis showed to be a suitable tool to interpret the soil cationic balance given that the soil cationic balances value was changed by nitrogen fertilization and potassium as well as the soil pH value and the concentration of K in the soil. The soil cationic balances also changed by the variations of in climate conditions at period of soil sample. An application rate of 0.55 kg K2O per plant per cycle was considered sufficient to keep K soil concentration above 1.6 mmolc dm-3. <![CDATA[Addition of Urease Inhibitor Has No Effect on Ammonia Volatilization Following Soil Application of Poultry Litter or Organomineral Fertilizer, Unlike Urea]]> ABSTRACT Quantification of ammonia volatilization after addition of animal residues and nitrogen (N) mineral fertilizers to the soil is important for N management in fertilization programs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of adding a urease inhibitor to N fertilizers to minimize ammonia losses following soil application. The experiment was carried out in a laboratory with samples of a Brazilian Oxisol containing 790 g kg-1 clay and 23 g kg-1 organic matter. Treatments consisted of addition of poultry litter (PL), organic mineral fertilizer (OMF) and urea to the soil, with and without the urease inhibitor N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), plus a control with no fertilizer. We applied the fertilizers over the soil surface, with no soil incorporation, at a rate of 200 mg kg-1 N. Experimental units consisted of PVC tubes with a diameter of 0.15 m, containing 1.0 kg of soil (dry basis). Ammonia volatilization was measured for 56 days following fertilizer application to the soil using sponge discs impregnated with phosphoric acid and glycerin, which were fitted inside the tubes 0.15 m above the soil surface. Ammonia volatilization peaks varied according to the fertilizer, and most of them occurred in the first 15 days following application to the soil. Total ammonia volatilized from the soil treated with PL or OMF had no influence on the urease inhibitor, probably because the losses were small, attaining a maximum of 2.5 and 9 % of the total N applied, respectively. In the treatment that received urea, NBPT delayed the peak of volatilization by three weeks and decreased the loss of ammonia from 22 to 9 % of the N applied. Use of urease inhibitor does not always decrease ammonia volatilization, especially when mixed with fertilizers in which urea is not the only source of N. <![CDATA[Soil Properties and Plant Biomass Production in Natural Rangeland Management Systems]]> ABSTRACT Improper management of rangelands can cause land degradation and reduce the economic efficiency of livestock activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate soil properties and quantify plant biomass production in four natural rangeland management systems in the Santa Catarina Plateau (Planalto Catarinense) of Brazil. The treatments, which included mowed natural rangeland (NR), burned natural rangeland (BR), natural rangeland improved through the introduction of plant species after harrowing (IH), and natural rangeland improved through the introduction of plant species after chisel plowing (IC), were evaluated in a Nitossolo Bruno (Nitisol). In the improved treatments, soil acidity was corrected, phosphate fertilizer was applied, and intercropped annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), velvet grass (Holcus lanatus), and white clover (Trifolium repens) were sown. Management systems with harrowed or chisel plowed soil showed improved soil physical properties; however, the effect decreased over time and values approached those of burned and mowed natural rangelands. Natural rangeland systems in the establishment phase had little influence on soil organic C. The mowed natural rangeland and improved natural rangeland exhibited greater production of grazing material, while burning the field decreased production and increased the proportion of weeds. Improvement of the natural rangelands increased leguminous biomass for pasture. <![CDATA[Sampling Layer for Soil Fertility Evaluation in Long-Term No-Tillage Systems]]> ABSTRACT In no-tillage (NT) systems, there is no plowed layer since the soil is not tilled. Thus, the soil layer for fertility evaluation can be defined as the one in which the fertility indices are affected by the surface application of lime and fertilizers and soil properties have the closest relationship with crop yields. The objective of this study was to determine the most appropriate soil layer under long-term NT for sampling for fertility evaluation in the South-Central region of Paraná, Brazil. A total of 99 field experiments of crop rotations were performed, including soybean, corn, barley, wheat, and white oat, all on Oxisols (Hapludox). Despite the surface application, lime and fertilizers increased base saturation (V) and available K to a depth of 0.20 m. The relationship with crop yields was high for V and low for available K for both soil layers (0.00-0.10 and 0.00-0.20 m); for P, however, the relationships with soybean and corn yields were strongest in the 0.00-0.20 m layer. Thus, considering the soil layer fertilized by the surface application of lime and potassium fertilizers and the highest relationship of soil P contents with the yield of the main crops of the crop rotation, the 0.00-0.20 m layer is the most appropriate for soil fertility evaluation under long-term no-tillage systems. <![CDATA[Iron Availability in Tropical Soils and Iron Uptake by Plants]]> ABSTRACT Given the increase in crop yields and the expansion of agriculture in low fertility soils, deficiency of micronutrients, such as iron, in plants grown in tropical soils has been observed. The aim of this study was to evaluate Fe availability and Fe uptake by corn (Zea mays L.) plants in 13 different soils, at two depths. Iron was extracted by Mehlich-1, Mehlich-3, and CaCl2 (Fe-CC) and was fractionated in forms related to low (Feo) and high (Fed) crystallinity pedogenic oxyhydroxides, and organic matter (Fep) using ammonium oxalate, dithionite-citrate, and sodium pyrophosphate, respectively. In order to relate Fe availability to soil properties and plant growth, an experiment was carried out in a semi-hydroponic system in which part of the roots developed in a nutrient solution (without Fe) and part in the soil (the only source of Fe). Forty-five days after seeding, we quantified shoot dry matter and leaf Fe concentration and content. Fed levels were high, from 5 to 132 g kg-1, and Feo and Fe-CC levels were low, indicating the predominance of Fe as crystalline oxyhydroxides and a low content of Fe readily available to plants. The extraction solutions showed significant correlations with various soil properties, many common to both, indicating that they act similarly. The correlation between the Mehlich-1 and Mehlich-3 extraction solutions was highly significant. However, these two extraction methods were inefficient in predicting Fe availability to plants. There was a positive correlation between dry matter and Fe levels in plant shoots, even within the ranges considered adequate in the soil and in the plant. Dry matter production and leaf Fe concentration and content were positively correlated with Fep concentration, indicating that the Fe fraction related to soil organic matter most contributes to Fe availability to plants. <![CDATA[Use of Organic Compost Containing Waste from Small Ruminants in Corn Production]]> ABSTRACT Composting is a useful way of transforming livestock waste into organic fertilizer, which is proven to increase soil nutrient levels, and thus crop yield. Remains from production and slaughter of small ruminants can become a source of important elements for plant growth, such as N, after microorganism-driven decomposition.The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of this compost on soil fertility and on the nutritional status and yield of the corn crop. The experiment was conducted in a Haplic Luvisol in a randomized block design with six treatments and five application rates of the organic compound in Mg ha-1: 3 (half the standard rate), 6 (standard rate), 9 (one and a half times the standard rate), 12 (twice the standard rate), and 24 (four times the standard rate) and an additional treatment with mineral fertilizers (110, 50 e 30 kg ha-1 of N, P2O5 and K2O, respectively), with four blocks. Evaluations were performed for two harvests of rainfed crops, measuring soil fertility, nutritional status, and grain yield. The compost increased P, K, Na and Zn values in the 0.00-0.20 m layer in relation of mineral fertilization in 616, 21, 114 and 90 % with rate 24 Mg ha-1 in second crop. Leaf N, Mg, and S contents, relative chlorophyll content, and the productivity of corn kernels increased in 27, 32, 36, 20 e 85 %, respectively, of low rate (3 Mg ha-1) to high rate (24 Mg ha-1) with of application of the compost. Corn yield was higher with application of organic compost in rate of 24 Mg ha-1 than mineral fertilizer combination in second crop. <![CDATA[Soybean Tillage Systems and Physical Changes in Surface Layers of Two Albaqualf Soils]]> ABSTRACT A compacted subsurface soil layer can be a limiting factor for soybean growing, reducing soybean yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different tillage systems on the physical properties of two Albaqualf soils of the Central Plains region in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. Two experiments were conducted: one in Santa Maria, RS, during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons, and another in Formigueiro, RS, during the 2013/14 crop season. A randomized block experimental design with four replications was used. The treatments were: sowing using an offset double disc (T1); sowing using a fluted coulter disc (wavy disc with 12 waves) (T2); sowing with a knife runner opener (T3); sowing with a knife runner opener + press wheel mechanism for ground levelling (T4); sowing using a furrow opener upon a raised bed (T5); and chisel plough + sowing using an offset double-disc (T6). In the 2014/15 growing season, the T4 factor was changed using a knife runner opener 0.05 m from the planting row. A smaller reduction in the compacted subsurface soil layer was observed for both T1 and T2, which exhibited high soil bulk density values for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons. Furthermore, T3, T5 and T6 led to a reduction in bulk density, and increasing total porosity and macroporosity in the soil, which consequently increased water infiltration, water storage capacity, and crop yield in areas with the presence of a compacted subsurface soil layer. <![CDATA[Some questions about Yang et al. “Quantitative assessment of soil physical quality in northern China based on S-theory” [Rev Bras Cienc Solo. 2015;39:1311-21]]]> ABSTRACT A compacted subsurface soil layer can be a limiting factor for soybean growing, reducing soybean yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different tillage systems on the physical properties of two Albaqualf soils of the Central Plains region in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. Two experiments were conducted: one in Santa Maria, RS, during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons, and another in Formigueiro, RS, during the 2013/14 crop season. A randomized block experimental design with four replications was used. The treatments were: sowing using an offset double disc (T1); sowing using a fluted coulter disc (wavy disc with 12 waves) (T2); sowing with a knife runner opener (T3); sowing with a knife runner opener + press wheel mechanism for ground levelling (T4); sowing using a furrow opener upon a raised bed (T5); and chisel plough + sowing using an offset double-disc (T6). In the 2014/15 growing season, the T4 factor was changed using a knife runner opener 0.05 m from the planting row. A smaller reduction in the compacted subsurface soil layer was observed for both T1 and T2, which exhibited high soil bulk density values for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons. Furthermore, T3, T5 and T6 led to a reduction in bulk density, and increasing total porosity and macroporosity in the soil, which consequently increased water infiltration, water storage capacity, and crop yield in areas with the presence of a compacted subsurface soil layer. <![CDATA[Response to De Jong Van Lier's comments on “Quantitative assessment of soil physical quality in northern China based on S-theory” [Rev Bras Cienc Solo. 2015;39:1311-21]]]> ABSTRACT A compacted subsurface soil layer can be a limiting factor for soybean growing, reducing soybean yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different tillage systems on the physical properties of two Albaqualf soils of the Central Plains region in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. Two experiments were conducted: one in Santa Maria, RS, during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons, and another in Formigueiro, RS, during the 2013/14 crop season. A randomized block experimental design with four replications was used. The treatments were: sowing using an offset double disc (T1); sowing using a fluted coulter disc (wavy disc with 12 waves) (T2); sowing with a knife runner opener (T3); sowing with a knife runner opener + press wheel mechanism for ground levelling (T4); sowing using a furrow opener upon a raised bed (T5); and chisel plough + sowing using an offset double-disc (T6). In the 2014/15 growing season, the T4 factor was changed using a knife runner opener 0.05 m from the planting row. A smaller reduction in the compacted subsurface soil layer was observed for both T1 and T2, which exhibited high soil bulk density values for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop seasons. Furthermore, T3, T5 and T6 led to a reduction in bulk density, and increasing total porosity and macroporosity in the soil, which consequently increased water infiltration, water storage capacity, and crop yield in areas with the presence of a compacted subsurface soil layer.