Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/28/2005
Publication Date: 1/28/2005
Citation: Zobeck, T.M., Halfmann, D., Acosta Martinez, V., Bronson, K., Upchurch, D.R. 2005. Agricultural management effects on properties of semi-arid sandy soils[ABSTRACT]. Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Sustainable agricultural management is vital to the production of a stable and safe food supply. The effects of agricultural management on the environment depend on many factors. No-tillage farming systems have been shown to reduce soil erosion and modify soil chemical, biochemical, and physical properties in many areas of the US, but little information is available for sandy semi-arid soils of the Southern High Plains. In this study, soil chemical, biochemical, and physical properties were measured on long-term (approximately 20 years) no-till, conventionally-tilled fields and native rangeland of sandy soils in west Texas. Systems investigated included no-till cotton/wheat, conventionally-tilled cotton, conservation reserve grassland, and native grassland. Soil properties observed included soil total organic carbon (OC) and nitrogen, particulate organic matter (POM), enzyme activities of C, N and S cycling (beta-glucosaminidase, beta-glucosidase, arylsulfatase), wet aggregate stability (WES), bulk density, penetrometer resistance, and water infiltration. Most soil properties had significant depth (within the surface 30cm) and depth by management system interactions. Native grassland and no-till systems had the highest enzyme activity and nutrient levels. Native grassland had the highest OC content and WES, among systems. Conventionally-tilled cotton had the lowest OC content and WES. No differences among systems were found for POM. Infiltration was highest on the native rangeland and lowest on the dryland cotton fields, regardless of tillage system used. Our results demonstrate that although long-term, no-till increased the values of selected soil quality parameters, they were still lower than the same parameters observed for native grassland in these sandy soils.