Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366087

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Comparison of soil-aggregate crushing-energy meters

Author
item PI, HUAWEI - Washington State University
item Huggins, David
item WEBB, NICHOLAS - New Mexico State University
item Sharratt, Brenton

Submitted to: Aeolian Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2019
Publication Date: 1/10/2020
Citation: Pi, H., Huggins, D.R., Webb, N., Sharratt, B.S. 2020. Comparison of soil-aggregate crushing-energy meters. Aeolian Research. 42:100559. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2019.100559.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2019.100559

Interpretive Summary: The stability of soil aggregates (Dry Aggregate Stability, DAS) is an important factor influencing soil wind erosion, dust emission and crop production. DAS is usually measured using a horizontal- or vertical-plate crushing meter (Soil-Aggregate Crushing-Energy Meter, hereafter SACEM). The intent of this paper was to compare the performance of horizontal-plate SACEM with a commercial penetrometer (Mohr Digi-Test, hereafter MDT). The performance of both instruments was tested on aggregates collected from various soil types, crop rotations, soil amendments, and tillage systems across the inland Pacific Northwest United States (iPNW). Results indicated no consistently significant difference in DAS measured by the MDT and SACEM. However, there was evidence that SACEM under-estimated or MDT over-estimated DAS by 74 to 368% in measuring the stability of strong aggregates (DAS > 3 J kg-1). Both instruments measured higher DAS for no-tillage summer fallow, winter wheat-summer fallow (WW-SF) rotations, and no green manure treatments compared with other tillage practices, oilseed rotations, and green manure treatments. The SACEM that has historically been used in measuring soil DAS can be replaced by the commercial penetrometer (MDT). Nonetheless, differences in the performance of instruments in measuring the stability of strong aggregates poses risks.

Technical Abstract: Dry aggregate stability (DAS) is an important factor influencing soil wind erosion, dust emission and crop production. Historically and to the present, DAS has been determined using a horizontal- or vertical-plate crushing meter (Soil-Aggregate Crushing-Energy Meter, hereafter SACEM). The intent of this paper was to compare the performance of horizontal-plate SACEM with a commercial penetrometer (Mohr Digi-Test, hereafter MDT). The performance of both instruments was tested on aggregates collected from various soil types, crop rotations, soil amendments, and tillage systems across the inland Pacific Northwest United States (iPNW). Results indicated no consistently significant difference in DAS measured by the MDT and SACEM. However, there was evidence that SACEM under-estimated or MDT over-estimated DAS by 74 to 368% in measuring the stability of strong aggregates (DAS > 3 J kg-1). Both instruments measured higher DAS for no-tillage summer fallow, winter wheat-summer fallow (WW-SF) rotations, and no green manure treatments compared with other tillage practices, oilseed rotations, and green manure treatments. The SACEM that has historically been used in measuring soil DAS can be replaced by the commercial penetrometer (MDT). Nonetheless, differences in the performance of instruments in measuring the stability of strong aggregates poses risks.