Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2753

Full Length Research Paper

Tillage-induced compaction: Effects on physical properties of agricultural loamy soils

  Olebile Sekwakwa and Oagile Dikinya*        
Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 April 2012
  •  Published: 30 April 2012

Abstract

 

Soil compaction due to agricultural tillage practices is a global concern and has profound implications on soil conservation and management with consequent effects on soil productivity. To assess the influence of tillage induced compaction on physical properties, we carried out a comparative study in agricultural loamy soils under tillage and no till manipulation by determining physical properties. Soil texture was determined using Bouyous method while the core method was used for soil bulk density and porosity. The soil water retention curve and infiltration rate was measured using pressure plate apparatus and double ring infiltrometer, respectively. The results shows that tilled (1.68 to 1.77 g/cm3) was more prone to compaction than non tilled soils (1.42 to 1.56 g/cm3) and consequently the porosity was also affected with the tilled soil having relatively less percentage of pore space. The mean infiltration rate was 1.25 and 2.75 mm/min for tilled and non-tilled areas, respectively. The lower rate in tilled soil was attributable to compaction which reduces the pore spaces with restriction of air and water movement. Similarly lower soil water content at field capacity and increased permanent wilting in tilled soils was also attributable to reduction of the pores associated with compaction.

 

Key words: Compaction, infiltration, physical properties, tillage, loamy soils.