Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Print version ISSN 0100-0683
DA-SILVA, Vagner Lopes et al. Improvement of an oxisol structure by no-till cropping systems in the region of Campos Gerais, Paraná. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2012, vol.36, n.3, pp. 983-992. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832012000300028.
The quality of no-tillage systems depends on an adequate soil management that promotes soil structure improvements. This is associated to the cropping system adopted. This study investigated the effect of long-term no-tillage systems (18 years) on the structural quality of a sandy-clay to clay Oxisol (Latossolo Vermelho) in the region of Campos Gerais, Paraná, Brazil. Five cropping systems were assessed: wheat-soybean [Wt-So], black oat-maize-wheat-soybean [Ot-Mz-Wt-So], vetch-maize-wheat-soybean [Vt-Mz-Wt-So], ryegrass-maize-ryegrass-soybean [Rg-Mz-Rg-So]; and alfalfa-maize [Alf-Mz]. Soil was sampled from the layers 0-5, 5-10 and 10-20 cm, in cylinders and in blocks with undisturbed structure. In the 0-5 cm layer, bulk density was lowest in the Ot-Mz-Wt-So (0.96 Mg m-3) and Vt-Mz-Wt-So systems (0.93 Mg m-3). In the 5-10 and 10-20 cm layers, the bulk density tended to be lowest in Alf-Mz systems (1.14 and 1.17 Mg m-3, respectively). A similar trend was observed for macroporosity, which in the top layer was greater in Ot-Mz-Wt-So (0.29 m3 m-3) and Vt-Mz-Wt-So (0.30 m3 m-3) and in the 5-10 and 10-20 cm layers tended to be greater in the Alf-Mz system (0.19 m3 m-3). No clear trend was observed for microporosity. The saturated hydraulic conductivity was directly related with macroporosity, and was highest for Vt-Mz-Wt-So in the 0-5 cm layer (224 mm h-1) and Alf-Mz in the layers 5-10 (170 mm h-1) and 10-20 cm (147 mm h-1). In the Vt-Mz-Wt-So system, the mean weight diameter of aggregates was lowest in the 0-5 cm layer (2.39 mm) and highest (3.04 mm) in the Wt-So. The highest cone index values were observed in the Wt-So system, with over 1.5 MPa in the 7.5-22.5 cm layer. The compaction degree was lowest in the Alf-Mz system (0.2 MPa cm). Results were attributed mainly to the role of the crop roots of the systems and to the intensity of machinery traffic. Considering the 0-20 cm layer as a whole, the capacity to promote soil structural quality improvements was greater for the semi-perennial Alf-Mz system than for systems based on annual species. Bi-annual rotation systems, based on cover crops such as black oat and vetch, promote soil structural quality improvements compared to the wheat - soybean succession.
Keywords : Crop rotation; legumes; cone index; soil aggregation; density; porosity.