Influence of winter wheat on soil thermal properties of a Paleudalf
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School of Agriculture, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA
Acceptance date: 2019-04-11
Publication date: 2019-07-19
Int. Agrophys. 2019, 33(3): 389-395
Soil thermal properties can influence several soil processes important for crop productivity. This study was conducted to evaluate the influence of cover crops on selected soil physical and thermal properties. The field site was set up using a randomized complete block design with two levels of cover crops (cover crops versus no cover crops). The soil thermal properties measured included thermal conductivity, volumetric heat capacity, and thermal diffusivity. The physical properties of the soil studied included bulk density, volumetric water content, total pore spaces, water-filled pore spaces, air-filled pore spaces, gas diffusion coefficient, and soil pore tortuosity factor. Soil organic carbon was also measured. The results showed that soil organic carbon was 26% higher under cover crops management compared to no cover crops management. Thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity were positively correlated with soil bulk density and these properties (soil thermal conductivity and soil thermal diffusivity) were higher under no cover crops management compared with cover crops management probably due to the proximity between soil particles. The volumetric heat capacity was positively correlated with soil organic carbon, with soil organic carbon being higher under cover crops management compared with no cover crops management. Results from the current study show that cover crops can improve soil physical and thermal properties which may benefit crop productivity as corroborated via laboratory measurements.
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