MANAGING SOIL MECHANICAL STRESSES FOR COTTON PRODUCTION
Mar 10, 2017

Agronomy & physiology WCRC Agro-physio-Asia WCRC1
Abstract                                                                         Back to Table of contents

Soil mechanical stresses are detrimental to root and shoot growth in cotton when threshold values are exceeded.  Soil surface, mechanical stresses are manifested either as crusts or seals formed when rain or irrigation is followed by rapid drying, while at shallow depths a dense hard layer is formed due to either clay accumulation or calcification. Cotton seedling emergence was reduced from 58 to 10% when surface crust strength increased from 0.25 to 1.20 kg cm-2 in a sandy loam soil. Mechanical disruption of soil crust and seedline mulch application with farm yard manure (FYM) overcame the adverse effect of surface mechanical stresses on seedling emergence. A 5 cm thick layer of about 1.9 Mg m-2 at 15 to 20 cm depth decreased the plant height, root growth and yield of seed cotton. The growth of the tap root completely ceased when it encountered the dense layer and reduction in yield was about 16%. Deep tillage alleviated the adverse effect of a dense layer at shallow depths.

Conclusion

Surface and sub-surface mechanical impedance reduced seedling emergence, growth and yield of cotton. Seedline mulch with FYM, mechanical breaking and deep tillage is useful for managing soil mechanical stresses and for increasing cotton yield.

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