Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Management System and Landscape Position Interactions on Nutrient Distribution in a Coastal Plain Field

Authors
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Terra, Jose - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Shaw, Joseph - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Reeves, Donald
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 2005
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Citation: Balkcom, K.S., Terra, J.A., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2005. Soil management system and landscape position interactions on nutrient distribution in a coastal plain field. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 60(6):431-437.

Interpretive Summary: Soil nutrient concentrations vary with tillage system and landscape position, but limited information exists describing how these variables change across a field. Researchers at the Soil Dynamics Research Unit, J. Phil Campbell Sr. ' Natural Resources Conservation Center, and cooperators from Auburn University conducted a 3 yr experiment to evaluate pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Zn concentrations at three depths (0-5 cm, 5-15 cm, and 15-30 cm) and three landscape positions (summit, sideslope, and drainageway) in a 9-ha field. The field contained four management systems consisting of a conventional (chisel plowing/disking in-row subsoiling with no cover crops) and conservation tillage system (in-row subsoiling with cover crops) with or without dairy bedding manure. Manure applications increased pH and nutrient concentrations in the soil surface (0-5 cm) of conventional and conservation tillage systems, with highest values measured in conservation tillage. Landscape position did not influence nutrient concentrations; however, landscape position did affect soil pH, P, and K concentrations. The lowest soil pH and P concentrations were measured from the sideslope position, while K concentrations did not exhibit consistent distributions across landscape positions. Based on this preliminary research, farmers and consultants may need to account for landscape position to help direct future soil sampling methods in Coastal Plain fields.

Technical Abstract: Soil nutrient concentrations vary with soil management system and landscape position, but limited information exists describing these interactions within a heterogeneous field. A 3 yr experiment was conducted to evaluate pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Zn concentrations at three depths (0-5 cm, 5-15 cm, and 15-30 cm) and three landscape positions (summit, sideslope, and drainageway) in a 9-ha field containing four different management systems. Management systems consisted of a conventional (chisel plowing/disking in-row subsoiling with no cover crops) and conservation tillage system (in-row subsoiling with cover crops) with or without dairy bedding manure. Soils ranged from Aquic to Typic Paleudults. Manure applications increased pH and nutrient concentrations in the soil surface (0-5 cm) of conventional and conservation tillage systems, with highest values measured in conservation tillage. Landscape position did not influence nutrient concentrations; however, landscape position did affect soil pH, P, and K concentrations. The lowest soil pH and P concentrations were measured from the sideslope position, while K concentrations did not exhibit consistent distributions across landscape positions. Future soil testing of Coastal Plain fields to account for erosion of the landscape may help direct future sampling methodology and interpretations for nutrient management.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page