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Soil physical characteristics and yield of wheat and maize as affected by mulching materials and sowing methods

Author(s): Syed Shahid Hussain Shah, Anwar-Ul-Hassan, Abdul Ghafoor | Allah Bakhsh

Journal: Soil & Environment
ISSN 2074-9546

Volume: 32;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Bed and flat sowing | mulch | soil physical properties | grain yield

Soil physical degradation due to agriculture activity is a pressing issue in Pakistan causing reduction in crop yields. The study was conducted to assess the effects of two sowing methods and two mulching materials on soil physical characteristics and yields of wheat and maize during 2008-10 at Faisalabad, Pakistan. Results showed that Bed sowing method along with wheat straw mulch increased Leaf Area Index of wheat by 5 to 16%, and of maize by 4 to 14% compared with other treatments. This treatment also produced maximum 1000-grain weight (50.5 g) of wheat and maize (439.2g) as compared to flat sowing method where no mulch was applied. The highest grain yields of wheat (5017 kg ha-1) and maize (10.6 Mg ha-1) were recorded in Bed sowing + wheat straw mulch plots. Bed sowing alone decreased bulk density by 4% at 0-15 cm soil depth and 13.7% less soil penetration resistance (788.2 kPa) was noted. About 23.0% higher soil organic carbon contents (4.2 g kg-1) at 0-15 cm soil depth, 39.1% higher field saturated hydraulic conductivity (24.3 mm hr-1) and 14.2% higher infiltration rate (58.5 mm hr-1) were recorded compared to flood irrigated flat sowing. Furrow irrigated raised bed technique was found to be environment friendly in combination with farm manure compared to wheat straw having enhanced soil organic carbon contents.
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