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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388369

Research Project: Conservation Practice Impacts on Water Quality at Field and Watershed Scales

Location: National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory

Title: Effectiveness of deep lime placement and tillage systems on aluminum fractions and soil chemical attributes in sugarcane cultivation

item DE CAMPOS, MURILO - Sao Paulo State University (UNESP)
item Penn, Chad
item Gonzalez, Javier
item CRUSCIOL, ALEXANDRE C - Sao Paulo State University (UNESP)

Submitted to: Geoderma
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2021
Publication Date: 10/29/2021
Citation: De Campos, M., Penn, C.J., Gonzalez, J.M., Crusciol, A.C. 2021. Effectiveness of deep lime placement and tillage systems on aluminum fractions and soil chemical attributes in sugarcane cultivation. Geoderma. 407:115545.

Interpretive Summary: Acid soils are among the biggest factors limiting crop yield worldwide. Acid soils reduce crop yield mostly through high concentrations of soluble aluminum (Al), which is toxic to plants. The common remedy is to neutralize the acid through addition of lime. However, the effectiveness of lime is limited to the depth of incorporation since it is generally immobile. This does little good for deep subsoil acidity, which limits root growth. This study examined new techniques for applying lime at deep soil depths in sugarcane with innovative tillage equipment. The deep strip-tillage system was able to reduce lime application rates (therefore conserving lime), neutralize acidity and soluble Al at a greater depth, and produce greater sugarcane yields compared to conventional surface broadcast lime.

Technical Abstract: Combining deep soil tillage systems with lime application is a potential strategy for improving the sugarcane production in acidic soils. The authors evaluated the influence of tillage systems and lime application on sugarcane performance and soil attributes, including acidity. A field study in a clayey-textured Rhodic Hapludox soil was conducted with sugarcane for two growing seasons utilizing a 3 x 2 factorial scheme comprising three soil tillage systems with and without lime: conventional soil tillage system (CT), deep strip-tillage system (DT) and modified deep strip-tillage system (MDT). The soil tillage systems differed in the depth of soil disturbance and/or lime positioning. In addition to sugarcane stalk and sugar yields, pH, potential acidity (Pac), soil organic carbon (SOC), solid-phase and soil-solution calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), the percentage distribution of exchangeable (%Alex) and non-exchangeable aluminum (%Alne) in the solid phase, and total monomeric (%TM-Al) in soil water extracts were analyzed and determined. The positioning of lime by the different tillage systems influenced the distribution of the Al fractions. TM-Al existed exclusively as organic monomeric Al (OM-Al) and showed little influence from treatments. In contrast, the distribution of Alex and Alne were highly influenced by lime and tillage system and varied according to the tillage efficiency of soil amendment. Soil chemical attributes and yield parameters were also influenced by the treatments in both growing seasons, highlighting the residual effect of liming. The soil chemical attributes influenced the Al fractions. Soil pH and exchangeable and soluble calcium (Caex and Cas) and magnesium (Mgex and Mgs) explained the variation of %Alne. Pac correlated with %Alex, whereas SOC explained the variation of %TM-Al. In general, the sucrose concentration, total recoverable sugar and stalk and sugar yields were increased by lime addition in plant cane and by lime addition and tillage systems in second ratoon. The stalk yield was highest in MDT, whereas the sugar yield was highest in both deep tillage systems.