SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE SITE-SPECIFIC SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT
Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research
Title: Assessment of Soil Quality for Grazed Pastures with Agroforestry Buffers and Row Crop Systems
Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2011
Publication Date: October 16, 2011
Citation: Paudel, B., Udawatta, R., Anderson, S.H., Kremer, R.J. 2011. Assessment of Soil Quality for Grazed Pastures with Agroforestry Buffers and Row Crop Systems. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings, October 16-19, 2011, San Antonio, Texas. 2011 CDROM.
Incorporation of trees and establishment of buffers are believed to enhance soil quality. Soil enzyme activities and water stable aggregates have been identified as good indices for assessing soil quality to evaluate early responses to changes in soil management. However, studies comparing these parameters for grazed pastures and row crop systems are limited. The objective of this study was to examine the activities of selected enzymes (fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolase, dehydrogenase, ß-glucosidase and ß-glucosaminidase), the percentage of water stable aggregates (WSA) as soil quality parameters for grazed pasture and row-crop systems. The study consisted of four management treatments: grazed pasture, agroforestry buffer, grass buffer and row crop. Soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, and soil bulk density were also determined. Two soil depths (0-10 and 10-20 cm) were analyzed for all treatments for two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010. The row-crop treatment showed significantly lower ß-glucosidase and ß-glucosaminidase activity and significantly lower WSA compared to all other treatments. The FDA hydrolase activities were not significantly different in 2009 but were significant in 2010. Surface soil revealed higher enzyme activities and higher WSA than the sub-surface soil. The treatment by depth interactions were significant for ß-glucosidase and ß-glucosaminidase enzymes in 2009 while the interactions were significant for dehydrogenase and ß-glucosaminidase enzymes in 2010. Permanent vegetation, with minimum soil disturbance, may improve soil quality by enhancing organic matter accumulation in the soil and increasing microbial activity.