Crop residue grazing and tillage systems effects on soil physical properties and corn (Zea mays L.) performance
Agostini,M. de los A
Abstract Crop-livestock systems under no till (NT) could negatively affect soil physical properties and crop performance, due to the additive effects of reduced soil cover and cattle trampling due to livestock grazing, and the absence of tillage. We evaluated the effects of four grazing strategies and of a shallow tillage (ST) on soil physical properties and corn (Zea mays L.) performance for a mollisol after 15 years under crop-livestock systems under NT in Argentina. Grazing strategies evaluated were: closure (C), one grazing (OG), high stocking rate (HR) and farmer's management (FM), and the tillage systems were: NT and ST. Bulk density (BD), penetration resistance (PR), hydraulic conductivity (k s), plant population, surface root distribution, aboveground dry matter accumulation, aboveground total N (TN) accumulation and corn yield were evaluated. High stocking rate and FM increased RP. On the other hand, ST decreased PR and BD and increased k s Corn yield was higher under ST than under NT, and under HR than under the other grazing strategies. Total N accumulation was higher under HR than under the rest of grazing strategies. Rational grazing management and use of tillage systems on resilient soils could have prevented soil physical properties be affected beyond critical thresholds.