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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 91 No. 2, p. 280-287
     
    Received: Feb 19, 1998
    Published: Mar, 1999


    * Corresponding author(s): gmaddonni@usa.net
    ghersa@ifeva.edu.ar
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doi:10.2134/agronj1999.00021962009100020017x

Assessing Soil Quality in the Rolling Pampa, Using Soil Properties and Maize Characteristics

  1. Gustavo A. Maddonni ,
  2. Susana Urricariet,
  3. Claudio M. Ghersa and
  4. Raúl S. Lavado
  1. C átedra de Cerealicultura Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453 (1417), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    C átedra de Fertilidad y Fertilizantes, Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453 (1417), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    C átedra de Ecología Vegetal Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453 (1417), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    C átedra de Fertilidad y Fertilizantes, Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martin 4453 (1417), Buenos Aires, Argentina

Abstract

Abstract

Intensive land use in the Rolling Pampa of Argentina appears to be reducing soil quality for crop production. Our objective was to establish the best edaphic andlor plant indicators for assessing soil quality with regard to functioning as a medium for crop production. Nine fields with Typic Argiudoll soils were selected for evaluation based on agriculture history and apparent soil structural stability. Soil chemical and physical properties and maize (Zea mays L.) vegetative and reproductive characteristics were measured. Multivariate statistical analyses were applied to the data to determine potential indicators of soil quality. Soil and crop variables explained more than 70% of the variance in soil quality among agricultural histories. The edaphic indicators that showed the greatest change from pristine conditions were organic C, total N, P, Mg, K, B, Ca, and Zn contents and cation exchange capacity. Using crop variables, leaf length, maximum fraction of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation, grain yield, kernel number, prolificacy, and total dry matter at physiological maturity, served to establish a soil quality gradient. Variation of maize growth was associated with edaphic indicators of soil quality and revealed the importance of soil aggregate stability in determine changes in soil quality for crop production.

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