Soil management for Alfisols in the semiarid tropics: erosion, enrichment ratios and runoff uri icon

abstract

  • Continuous cultivation of soils of the semiarid tropics has led to significant land degradation.Soil erosion and nutrient loss caused by high runoff volumes have reduced crop yields and contributed to offsite damage. We compared a number of soil management practices (tillage, mulch and perennial/annual rotational based systems) for their potential to improve crop production and land resource protection in an Alfisol of the semiarid tropics of India. Runoff and soil erosion were monitored and surface soil and sediment were analysed for nitrogen and carbon to determine enrichment ratios. Amelioration of soils with organic additions (farmyard manure, rice straw) or rotating perennial pasture with annual crops increased soil carbon and nitrogen contents and reduced runoff, soil erosion and nutrient loss. Soil erosion totalled less than 7 t ha±1, but enrichment ratios were often greater than 2 resulting in up to 27 kgNha±1 and 178 kgC ha±1 being lost in sediment. Up to an extra 250mm of water per year in®ltrated the soil with organic additions and was available for crop water use or percolation to groundwater. The results show that there are good opportunities for reducing degradation and increasing productivity on farms

publication date

  • 2002
  • 2002