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Effects of agricultural management on Sodosols in northern Tasmania

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Cotching, WE and Cooper, J and Sparrow, LA and McCorkell, BE and Rowley, W (2001) Effects of agricultural management on Sodosols in northern Tasmania. Australian Journal of Soil Reserch, 39 (4). pp. 711-735. ISSN 0004-9573

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Abstract

Attributes of 25 Tasmanian sodosols were assessed using field and laboratory techniques to determine
changes associated with 4 typical forms of agricultural management [long-term pasture, cropping with
shallow tillage using discs and tines, cropping (including potatoes) with more rigorous and deeper tillage
including deep ripping and powered implements, and cropping (including potatoes) where the potatoes
were harvested when the soil was wet]. Soil organic carbon in the top 150 mm was 2.7% under long-term
pasture compared with 1.8% in rigorously tilled cropping paddocks, and microbial biomass C values
were 194 and 129 mg/kg, respectively. Readily oxidisable organic C concentrations were 1.8 mg/g and
1.3 mg/g, respectively. Infiltration rate was greater in paddocks with shallow tillage cropping than longterm
pasture but was 43% less in paddocks which had grown potatoes and 70% less after a wet potato
harvest. Dry aggregate-size showed no change under shallow tillage cropping compared with long-term
pasture but decreased significantly in more rigorously tilled potato cropping paddocks. Aggregate stability
in all cropped paddocks was nearly 50% less than in long-term pasture paddocks, with values in intensively
tilled potato cropping paddocks approaching relatively low levels. Colwell extractable phosphorus (P)
increased with all cropping, particularly after potatoes. Lower organic carbon and poorer physical
properties were associated with paddocks which had grown potatoes, which adds weight to the view that
cropping rotation and associated soil management practices are critical for sustainable management of
Tasmanian sodosols. Farmers were surveyed about their views of the condition of their paddocks. They
identified more healthy than unhealthy soil attributes under all management histories but reported more
unhealthy soil attributes when potatoes were included in their rotation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: organic carbon, microbial biomass, soil strength, aggregate stability, macroporosity, land management. eSWWaR
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Soil Reserch
Page Range: pp. 711-735
ISSN: 0004-9573
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1071/SR00029
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2007 22:59
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:23
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