Measurements of soil penetration resistance (SR) have been frequently used for the evaluation of soil structural quality for plant growth. However, different data analysis approaches have been used, without a previous evaluation of their statistical quality. In this study we tested the hypothesis that the mean is the parameter with best statistical properties to evaluate alterations in soil penetration resistance in response to soil use and management, as compared to other SR statistical parameters. Undisturbed (5 × 5 cm) soil cores were collected from three sampling sites with different degrees of compaction: an undisturbed site under native scierophylous forest (NC); a site under short-duration grazing with post-grazing residue maintained at 2.0 to 2.5 Mg (Total Dry Matter) TDM ha-1 (LR); and a site under short-duration grazing with post-grazing residue maintained at 3.0 to 3.5 Mg TDM ha-1 (HR). The statistical quality of the parameters from undisturbed soil samples of SR profiles: mean (x), median (M), maximum (max), percentage of linear penetrability at 2 MPa (PLP2MPa), and the parameters from Probit analysis intercept (n) and slope (m) was evaluated using the ANOVA and LSD tests. Results from the F ratio, P > F values and LSD tests show that mean, median and maximum were the parameters with better statistical properties as criteria to evaluate alterations in soil penetration resistance in response to soil use and management as compared to other statistical SR parameters, validating the hypothesis of the research.
LSD; probit analysis; means comparison test; soil physical quality assessment