Saving water resources in agriculture is a topic of current research in Mediterranean environments, and rational soil management can allow such purposes. The Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters (BEST) procedure was applied in five olive orchards of Salento peninsula (southern Italy) to estimate the soil physical and hydraulic properties under alternative soil management (i.e., no-tillage (NT) and minimum tillage (MT)), and to quantify the impact of soil management on soil water conservation. Results highlighted the soundness of BEST predictions since they provided consistent results in terms of soil functions or capacitive-based soil indicators when (i) the entire data set was grouped by homogeneous classes of texture, bulk density, and capillarity of the soil, (ii) the predictions were compared with the corresponding water retention measures independently obtained in lab, and (iii) some correlations of literature were checked. BEST was applied to establish a comparison at Neviano (NE) and Sternatia (ST) sites. The two neighboring NT soils compared at NE showed substantial discrepancies in soil texture (i.e., sandy loam (NE-SL) or clay (NE-C)). This marked difference in soil texture could determine a worsening of the relative field capacity at the NE-SL site (relative field capacity, RFC < 0.6), as compared to NE-C where RFC was optimal. The current soil management determined a similar effect (RFC < 0.6) at Sternatia (ST-MT vs. ST-NT), but the worsening in soil properties, due to soil tillage, must be considered substantially transient, as progressive improvement is expected with the restoration of the soil structure. The results of this work suggest that strategic MT can be a viable solution to manage the soil of Salento olive orchards.

Estimating the soil hydraulic functions of some olive orchards: Soil management implications for water saving in soils of salento peninsula (Southern Italy)

Stellacci A. M.;
2020

Abstract

Saving water resources in agriculture is a topic of current research in Mediterranean environments, and rational soil management can allow such purposes. The Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters (BEST) procedure was applied in five olive orchards of Salento peninsula (southern Italy) to estimate the soil physical and hydraulic properties under alternative soil management (i.e., no-tillage (NT) and minimum tillage (MT)), and to quantify the impact of soil management on soil water conservation. Results highlighted the soundness of BEST predictions since they provided consistent results in terms of soil functions or capacitive-based soil indicators when (i) the entire data set was grouped by homogeneous classes of texture, bulk density, and capillarity of the soil, (ii) the predictions were compared with the corresponding water retention measures independently obtained in lab, and (iii) some correlations of literature were checked. BEST was applied to establish a comparison at Neviano (NE) and Sternatia (ST) sites. The two neighboring NT soils compared at NE showed substantial discrepancies in soil texture (i.e., sandy loam (NE-SL) or clay (NE-C)). This marked difference in soil texture could determine a worsening of the relative field capacity at the NE-SL site (relative field capacity, RFC < 0.6), as compared to NE-C where RFC was optimal. The current soil management determined a similar effect (RFC < 0.6) at Sternatia (ST-MT vs. ST-NT), but the worsening in soil properties, due to soil tillage, must be considered substantially transient, as progressive improvement is expected with the restoration of the soil structure. The results of this work suggest that strategic MT can be a viable solution to manage the soil of Salento olive orchards.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/258866
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