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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Physical Properties and Crop Productivity of An Eroded Soil Amended with Cattle Manure

Authors
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Lowery, Birl - UNIV. OF WISCONSIN-MADISO

Submitted to: Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 18, 2003
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
Citation: Arriaga, F.J., Lowery, B. 2004. Soil physical properties and crop productivity of an eroded soil amended with cattle manure. Soil Science. 168(12):888-899.

Interpretive Summary: Erosion changes soil properties, especially physical properties, mainly because of the removal of surface soil rich in organic materials and exposure of lower soil layers. A study was conducted to determine the effects of soil erosion and long-term manure applications on selected soil physical properties and corn production. After 10 years of annual manure applications soil bulk density decreased by 10%, while hydraulic conductivity of saturated soil was doubled in the surface soil. Manure increased soil-water retention capacity and decreased differences in water retention between erosion layers. Soil carbon content correlated well with soil water retention and soil bulk density. Long-term manure applications increased corn grain yields in 1998 by 19%, and 25% in 1999. Increased yield from manure additions was likely related to an enhancement in soil water retention. Results from this study show that long-term manure application is a possible management alternative for restoring physical properties and crop productivity of eroded soil.

Technical Abstract: Erosion changes soil properties, especially physical properties, mainly because of the removal of surface soil rich in organic materials and exposure of lower soil layers. In 1988, a study was established to determine the effects of soil erosion and long-term applications on selected soil physical properties and corn (Zea mays L.) production. Soil core samples were collected in 7.6-cm increments at three depths, 0- to 7.6-, 15- to 22.6-, and 30- to 37.6-cm, after 10 years of annual manure applications to determine soil bulk density, hydraulic conductivity of saturated soil, and water retention. Bulk density and hydraulic conductivity of saturated soil increased slighty with erosion level. Water rention did not change in the surface 7.6 cm, but water retention decreased with increasing erosion level at deeper depths. Long-term application of manure decreased soil bulk density by 10%, while hydraulic conductivity of saturated soil was doubled in the top 7.6 cm of soil. Manure increased soil-water retention capacity and decreased differences in water retention between erosion levels, especially at low suctions (0 to 20 kPa). Soil carbon content correlated well with water retention and soil bulk density. Corn grain yields in 1997, 1998, and 199 were 15, 6, and 14% less, respectively, in severe than slight erosion phase. Long-term manure additions increased corn grain yields in 1998 by 19%, and 25% in 1999. Increased yield from manure additions was likely related to an enhancement in water retention. Results from this study show that long-term manure application is a possible management alternative for restoring physical properties and crop productivity of eroded soil.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014