Soil physical properties spatial variability under long-term no-tillage corn
Spatial variability of soil physical and hydrological properties within or among agricultural fields could be intrinsically induced due to geologic and pedologic soil forming factors, but some of the variability may be induced by anthropogenic activities such as tillage practices. No-tillage has been gaining ground as a successful conservation practice, and quantifying spatial variability of soil physical properties induced by no-tillage practices is a prerequisite for making appropriate site-specific agricultural management decisions and/or reformulating some management practices. In particular, there remains very limited information on the spatial variability of soil physical properties under long-term no-tillage corn and tropical soil conditions. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to quantify the spatial variability of some selected soil physical properties (soil surface temperature (ST), volumetric water content (θv), soil resistance (TIP), total porosity (θt), bulk density (ρb), organic carbon, and saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat)) using classical and geostatistical methods. The study site was a 2 ha field cropped no-tillage sweet corn for nearly 10 years on Oahu, Hawaii. The field was divided into 10 × 10 and 20 × 20 m grids. Soil samples were collected at each grid for measuring ρb, θt, and soil organic carbon (SOC) in the laboratory following standard methods. Saturated hydraulic conductivity, TIP at 10 and 20 cm depths, soil surface temperature, and θv were also measured. Porosity and ρb have low and low to moderate variability, respectively based on the relative ranking of the magnitude of variability drawn from the coefficient of variation. Variability of the SOC, TIP, and Ksat ranges from moderate to high. Based on the best-fitted semivariogram model for finer grid data, 9.8 m and 142.2 m are the cut off beyond which the measured parameter does not show any spatial correlation for SOC, and TIP at 10 cm depth, respectively. Bulk density shows the highest spatial dependence (range = 226.8 m) among all measured properties. Spatial distribution of the soil properties based on kriging shows a high level of variability even though the sampled field is relatively small.
Awal, R., Safeeq, M., Abbas, F., Fares, S., Deb, S., Ahmad, A., & Fares, A. (2019). Soil physical properties spatial variability under long-term no-tillage corn. Agronomy, 9 (11) https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110750