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Short-term impacts of conservation agriculture on soil physical properties and productivity in the midhills of Nepal

By: Laborde, J.P.
Contributor(s): Wortmann, C.S | Blanco-Canqui, H | McDonald, A | Baigorria, G.A | Lindquist, J.L.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: Madison, WI (USA) : American Society of Agronomy, 2019ISSN: 0002-1962.Subject(s): Conservation agriculture | Soil chemicophysical properties | Agricultural productivity | Nepal In: Agronomy Journal v. 111, no. 4, p. 2128-2139Summary: Conservation agriculture (CA) is a management system characterized by zero or minimum tillage, permanent soil cover with crop residue or plant growth, and crop rotation. This study investigated the impact of conservation tillage, crop type, and planting date on crop productivity and the soil physical properties for 2 yr following conversion to CA. After 2 yr, average mean weight diameter of dry aggregates for the 0- to 5-cm and 5- to 10-cm soil depths were 45 and 24% greater in the CA treatment than the conventional practice (CP) treatment, respectively. However, soil sorptivity was about three times slower in CA than in CP for rapeseed (Brassica napus L. toria) rotation treatments, but only 62% slower in CA than CP for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rotation treatments. Soil bulk density to a depth of 15 cm was greater in CA (1.30 g cm?3) than CP (1.24 g cm?3), but only for late-planted treatments. Maize (Zea mays L.) yields for CA were not different from CP in the first year, but were 1.4 Mg ha?1 for CA and 5.0 Mg ha?1 for CP in the second year due to poor stand establishment under CA. There were no effects of CA on dry-season rapeseed and wheat. Results suggest that during the transition of CP to CA, soil physical properties can be improved but yields may remain constant or decline. Achieving equivalent yield outcomes between CA and CP will largely depend on equivalent stand establishment.
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Article CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

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Conservation agriculture (CA) is a management system characterized by zero or minimum tillage, permanent soil cover with crop residue or plant growth, and crop rotation. This study investigated the impact of conservation tillage, crop type, and planting date on crop productivity and the soil physical properties for 2 yr following conversion to CA. After 2 yr, average mean weight diameter of dry aggregates for the 0- to 5-cm and 5- to 10-cm soil depths were 45 and 24% greater in the CA treatment than the conventional practice (CP) treatment, respectively. However, soil sorptivity was about three times slower in CA than in CP for rapeseed (Brassica napus L. toria) rotation treatments, but only 62% slower in CA than CP for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rotation treatments. Soil bulk density to a depth of 15 cm was greater in CA (1.30 g cm?3) than CP (1.24 g cm?3), but only for late-planted treatments. Maize (Zea mays L.) yields for CA were not different from CP in the first year, but were 1.4 Mg ha?1 for CA and 5.0 Mg ha?1 for CP in the second year due to poor stand establishment under CA. There were no effects of CA on dry-season rapeseed and wheat. Results suggest that during the transition of CP to CA, soil physical properties can be improved but yields may remain constant or decline. Achieving equivalent yield outcomes between CA and CP will largely depend on equivalent stand establishment.

Funding for this research was provided by the US Borlaug Fellowship in Global Food Security, the University of NebraskaLincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and CIMMYT’s South Asia Regional office.

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