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Sharma K.L.,Indian Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture | Shankar G.R.M.,Indian Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture | Chandrika D.S.,Indian Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture | Grace J.K.,Indian Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture | And 15 more authors.
Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis | Year: 2014

The soils in the hot semi-arid tropical (SAT) regions generally have low organic matter and nutrient reserves. Soil-management problems in these soils primarily occur because of poor physical conditions and inadequate drainage through excess runoff, finally resulting in poor crop growth. Hence, the present investigation was conducted to study the long-term impact of conjunctive nutrient use treatments on soil quality indicators and soil quality indices under three cropping systems: (i) sole soybean, (ii) soybean + maize, and (iii) sole maize cropping systems at the Indore Centre of the All-India Coordinated Research Project for Dryland Agriculture (AICRPDA) using Navjot and JS-335 as cultivars of maize and soybean, respectively. In 2005, the soil quality assessment study under this experiment was undertaken after 8 years of experimentation. Soil quality assessment was done by identifying the key indicators using principal component analysis (PCA) and linear scoring technique (LST). Soil quality indices (SQI) and relative soil quality indices (RSQI) were also computed. Results revealed that most of the soil quality parameters were significantly influenced by the conjunctive nutrient management treatments. The common key indicators that emerged in all the treatments were pH, organic carbon (OC), exchangeable magnesium (Mg), available zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and boron (B). The soil quality indices across the management treatments under sole maize system varied from 1.70 to 2.40 and application of 20 kg nitrogen (N) (compost) + 20 kg N through urea as top dressing emerged as a one of the most superior treatments with SQI value of 2.40. The soil quality indices in maize + soybean system varied from 1.12 to 1.47 and application of 20 kg N (compost) + 20 kg N through urea + azotobacter at 2 kg ha-1 proved to be significant with the greatest SQI value of 1.47. In the case of the sole soybean system, the SQI varied from 1.21 to 1.61. After considering all the systems together, the average best performance SQI score (ABP-SQI score) was computed, which varied from 1.14 to 1.56. The greatest value was recorded in the treatment with 20 kg N (compost) + 20 kg N (gliricidia) + 10 kg N (urea). The quantitative relationship developed in this study between mean soybean and maize yields (Y) and RSQI values (X), irrespective of the management treatments, could be quite useful to predict the yield quantitatively with respect to a given change in key indicators for these rainfed Vertisols. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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