FIELD LEVEL VARIATION INFLUENCED OUTCOMES MORE THAN N-FERTILISER, FYM, COVER CROPS OR THEIR LEGACY EFFECTS FOLLOWING CONVERSION TO A NO-TILL ARABLE SYSTEM

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2023.105104. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

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Authors

Ana I.M. Natalio , Matthew A. Back, Andrew Richards, Simon Jeffery

Abstract

Crop establishment in no-till arable systems benefits from favourable soil conditions. Combined with the incorporation of crop residues and manures, no-till can influence soil organic carbon (SOC) and organic matter (SOM) dynamics, crop productivity and nutrient cycling. These processes are shaped by spatial and temporal factors and associated microbial processes. There is a lack of diachronic large-scale field studies that include baseline data and capture seasonal variations in arable systems. This study aimed to investigate the interaction between microbial and soil physicochemical properties as they evolved over time during the transition from full-inversion to no-till soil management. It utilised a combination of soil microbial assays (microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN) with bio-physico-chemical analyses (SOC and SOM quantification, textural class, pH, gravimetric water content (GWC), and macronutrients) to assess soil over two years. Two experiments were established within the same four-hectare field: one on a relatively level area (Experiment-1) and another on a slope (Experiment-2). Experiment-1 treatments consisted of Farmyard Manure (FYM), Green Manure (GM) and Standard Practice (SP = Control). Experiment-2 was a repeat of Experiment-1, but without the FYM treatment. Soil was sampled twice per crop season, in Spring and Autumn, in Expriment-1, and in Autumn only in Experiment-2. The results were influenced by spatial and temporal variations that were not always linked to management practices. This two-year study demonstrated that the quantification of SOC and SOM were poor predictors of change in management practices over the timeframe of the study, but that microbial biomass responded quickly to the incorporation of FYM. SOC and SOM were affected by soil texture, but not significantly by inputs, and were associated with extractable Ca2+ and total-N. This study demonstrates that diachronic studies increase our understanding of SOC, SOM, MBC and MBN dynamics and the impacts of short-term change in soil management practices. Furthermore, spatial variation within one field was found to lead to different outcomes and to be a better predictor of response to management.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5564J

Subjects

Agriculture, Biogeochemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Chemistry, Other Earth Sciences, Other Environmental Sciences, Soil Science

Keywords

Agricultural Science, Agriculture, Agronomy and Crop Sciences Life Sciences, Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Soil Science, sustainability, Soil organic carbon, soil organic matter, crops, macronutrients, FYM, cover crops, soil amendments

Dates

Published: 2022-10-08 18:26

Last Updated: 2023-09-02 23:46

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests of personal ralashionships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper. This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme [grant agreement No 690142, 2016]. Financial support has been the sole role of the sponsor.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
to be submitted to EU database