Skip Navigation LinksHome > November 2013 - Volume 178 - Issue 11 > Rice Rotation and Tillage Effects on Water-Stable Soil Macro...
Soil Science:
doi: 10.1097/SS.0000000000000028
Technical Article

Rice Rotation and Tillage Effects on Water-Stable Soil Macroaggregates and Their Associated Carbon and Nitrogen Contents in a Silt-Loam Soil

Motschenbacher, Jill M.1; Brye, Kristofor R.1; Anders, Merle M.1,2; Gbur, Edward E.3; Slaton, Nathan A.1; Evans-White, Michelle A.4

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Abstract: Rice (Oryza sativa L.)-based cropping systems are different from other crop rotations because of the flood-irrigation scheme, which can influence the rate of soil organic matter decomposition, water-stable soil aggregation, and carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) sequestration over time. A study was conducted on a silt-loam soil (fine, smectitic, thermic, Typic Albaqualf) in eastern Arkansas to evaluate the effects of rice-based crop rotations (with maize (Zea mays L.), soybean (Glycine max L.), and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)), tillage (conventional tillage and no-tillage (NT)), and soil depth (0–5 cm and 5–10 cm) after 10 years of management on water-stable macroaggregates (WSA) and their C and N concentrations (g kg−1), C:N ratios, and contents (g m−2). The total amount of WSA (WSATotal >0.25 mm in diameter) and the distribution of WSA among five different size classes (0.25–0.5, 0.5–1, 1–2, 2–4, and >4 mm in diameter) within each treatment combination were evaluated. The concentration of WSATotal was 1.2 to four times greater under NT/0- to 5-cm soil depth (9.2–16.0 g kg−1) than under other tillage-depth combinations. Macroaggregate concentration in the 0.25- to 0.5-mm size class was greater under continuous rice (9.3 g kg−1) and rice rotations with maize (7.6–8.0 g kg−1) than in rotations with wheat (4.9–6.5 g kg−1). The NT/0- to 5-cm combination had three to six times greater WSATotal C (235 g m−2) and N (20.6 g m−2) contents than all other tillage-depth combinations (C, 38.3–80.5 g m−2; N, 3.5–5.7 g m−2), which did not differ. Despite field management differences from using seasonal flood-irrigation in rice, this study demonstrates that the extent of tillage and crop rotation effects on soil macroaggregation and the associated macroaggregate-associated C and N contents were proportionate to trends commonly reported in dryland crop rotations.

© 2013Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


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