Effect of organic inputs on strength and stability of soil aggregates under rice-wheat rotation
 
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1
Division of Agricultural Physics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi 110 012, India
2
Division of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi 110 012, India
3
Project Directorate for Farming Systems Research, Modipuram, Meerut, 250110, India
 
Int. Agrophys. 2014, 28(2): 163–168
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ABSTRACT
The study aims to elucidate the impact of organic inputs on strength and structural stability of aggregates in a sandy loam soil. Tensile strength, friability and water stability of aggregates, and the carbon contents in bulk soil and in large macro (>2 mm), small macro (0.25-2 mm), micro (0.053-0.25 mm) and silt+clay size (<0.053) aggregates were evaluated in soils from a long-term experiment with rice-wheat rotation at Modipuram, India, with different sources and amounts of organic C inputs as partial substitution of N fertilizer. Addition of organic substrates significantly improved soil organic C contents, but the type and source of inputs had different impacts. Tensile strength of aggregates decreased and friability increased through organic inputs, with a maximum effect under green gram residue (rice)-farmyard manure (wheat) substitution. Higher macroaggregates in the crop residue- and farmyard manure-treated soils resulted in a higher aggregate mean weight diameter, which also had higher soil organic C contents. The bulk soil organic C had a strong relation with the mean weight diameter of aggregates, but the soil organic C content in all aggregate fractions was not necessarily effective for aggregate stability. The soil organic C content in large macroaggregates (2-8 mm) had a significant positive effect on aggregate stability, although a reverse effect was observed for aggregates <0.25 mm. Partial substitution of nitrogen by organic substrates improved aggregate properties and the soil organic C content in bulk soil and aggregate fractions, although the relative effect varied with the source and amount of the organic inputs.
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