Soil Physical Quality in Sugarcane Field Under Cover Crop and Different Soil Tillage Systems

  •  C. V. V. Farhate    
  •  Z. M. Souza    
  •  W. S. Guimarães Jr    
  •  A. C. M. Sousa    
  •  M. C. C. Campos    
  •  J. L. N. Carvalho    


Currently, the management practices employed in Brazilian sugarcane plantations have contribute to soil physical degradation and, few studies considering the effect of cover crop associated with conservationist soil tillage systems to control or even reverse this process. Therefore, with the aim to assess the impact of cover crop and tillage systems on the least limiting water range (LLWR) and the S index in two soils of different textures used for sugarcane production, a fieldwork was carried out in two sugarcane plantations in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The experimental design is a split-plot with four repetitions. The main factor consisted of soil cover vegetation: cover crop and fallow, and the second factor, the tillage system: minimum tillage and conventional tillage. The data of this study demonstrated that clayey and medium-textured soil are sensitive to the management systems used. The use of cover crop promoted an increase of LLWR (average incremental rate of 105% for clayey and 100% for medium-textured soil) and S index (average incremental rate of 16% for clayey and 10% for medium-textured soil). The maintenance of soil under fallow represented restrictive conditions for the growth/development of the plants due to the degradation of the soil structure. In addition, conservation management systems, such as minimum tillage, resulted in better soil physical quality when associated with cover crop. Finally, the clayey and medium-textured soil, show good S index during the first cycle of sugarcane cultivation.

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