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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324766

Title: Effect of topsoil thickness on soil water infiltration in corn-soybean rotation and switchgrass production systems

item ZAIBON, S - University Of Missouri
item ANDERSON, STEPHEN - University Of Missouri
item Kitchen, Newell
item THOMPSON, ALLEN - University Of Missouri
item GANTZER, C - University Of Missouri
item UDAWATTA, R - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: International Soil and Water Conservation Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2016
Publication Date: 7/24/2016
Citation: Zaibon, S., Anderson, S.H., Kitchen, N.R., Thompson, A.L., Gantzer, C.J., Udawatta, R.P. 2016. Effect of topsoil thickness on soil water infiltration in corn-soybean rotation and switchgrass production systems [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference, July 24-27, 2016, Louisville, Kentucky. Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass and corn are sometimes used as a resource for biofuel production. The effect of production management systems on water infiltration is very critical in claypan landscape to increase production as well as minimize economic and environmental risks. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of topsoil thickness on water infiltration in claypan soils for grain and perennial grass production systems. The experiment was performed at the Soil Productivity Assessment for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) plots at the University of Missouri. Plots were planted with either switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) or a corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) rotation. Plots were initially established in 1982 with varying levels of topsoil thickness (0, 12.5, 25, and 37.5 cm) on a Mexico silt loam (Vertic Epiaqualfs). Infiltration rates were measured using ponded infiltrometer units during two years for the two levels of 0 cm and 37.5 cm topsoil thickness with four replicates within each treatment. Physically-based Parlange and Green and Ampt infiltration models were used to estimate saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) and sorptivity (S) parameters. Infiltration depths (I) for both years, 2014 and 2015, were significantly higher (about 80%, P < 0.01) for the switchgrass treatment compared to the row crop treatment. Results show that the I parameter was 73% higher (2014) and 72% higher (2015) for the deep topsoil thickness compared to the shallow topsoil thickness (P = 0.01). Results show that perennial grass (switchgrass) production systems enhance water infiltration compared with row crop management for claypan soils.