Soil compaction effects upon litter decomposition in an arable field and implications for management of crop residues and headlands

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Carlesso, L., Beadle, A., Cook, S. M., Graham, H., Ritz, K., Sparkes, D., Wu, L. and Murray, P. J. 2019. Soil compaction effects upon litter decomposition in an arable field and implications for management of crop residues and headlands. Applied Soil Ecology. 134, pp. 31-37.

AuthorsCarlesso, L., Beadle, A., Cook, S. M., Graham, H., Ritz, K., Sparkes, D., Wu, L. and Murray, P. J.
Abstract

Soil compaction is a major threat to agricultural soils. Heavy machinery is responsible for damaging soil chemical, physical and biological properties. Among these, organic matter decomposition, predominantly mediated by the soil biota, is a necessary process since it underpins nutrient cycling and provision of plant nutrients. Hence understanding factors which impact the functionality of the biota is necessary to improve agricultural practices. In the present study, to understand the effects of compaction on the soil system, we determined the effects of soil bulk density and soil penetration resistance, on the decomposition rates of litter in three distinct field zones: the margin, the tramlines in the crop:margin interface, and the crop. Three litters of different quality (ryegrass, straw residues and mixed litter) were buried for 1, 2, 4 and 6 months in litter bags comprising two different mesh sizes (<0.2 and >2 mm). Bulk density and soil resistance were greater in the compacted tramline than in the margin or the crop. The greatest mass loss of buried organic matter occurred in the grass margin and the lowest in the tramline. Differences between treatments increased with burial time. No significant difference of mass loss between the two mesh sizes was detected before the fourth month, implying that microbial activities were the main processes involved in the early stages of decomposition. Decomposition in the tramline was clearly affected by the degradation of soil structure and limitation of water and nutrient supplies due to heavy compaction. This study shows that poor soil conditions at the edge of arable fields affect major soil processes such as decomposition. It also reveals that there is potential to mitigate these effects by managing the headland, the crop residues and the machinery traffic in the field.

KeywordsDecomposition; Compaction; Field margins; Environmental Stewardship Scheme; Soil quality
Year of Publication2019
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Journal citation134, pp. 31-37
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.10.004
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBASF
Funder project or codeSoil biodiversity and resiliance in arable cropping systems
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Oct 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Oct 2018
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN0929-1393

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/846q4/soil-compaction-effects-upon-litter-decomposition-in-an-arable-field-and-implications-for-management-of-crop-residues-and-headlands

25 total views
82 total downloads
0 views this month
3 downloads this month
Download files as zip