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Hydraulic conductivity and porosity under conventional and no-tillage and the effect of three species of cover crop in northern France

Abstract : We studied soil hydraulic conductivity (K) and porosity in five combinations of soil tillage and cover crop management systems. Treatments were winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown on a conventionally tilled soil (CT), on a no-till soil (NT), and on an NT with three different cover crops: red fescue (Festuca rubra L.; Fr), bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.; Lc) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.; Ms). Measurements were made on a loamy soil in Grignon, France, in November 2004, May 2005 and October 2005. K and mean size of hydraulically active pores were measured in situ at three water potentials (−0.6, −0.2 and −0.05 kPa) at the soil surface and at 10 cm depth. In November 2004 and May 2005, pore space was described using 2D image analysis of pores on undisturbed soil samples in the 0–10 cm layer and in the 10–20 cm layer. The major differences were caused by soil tillage that created two heterogeneous soil layers and increased K in the 0–10 cm layer relative to NT. The effects of cover crop on K and porosity were not affected by the root type: there were no major differences between the grass cover crop (fibrous-root type) and the leguminous ones (tap-root type). However, we recorded larger functional pores and more tubules in the no-till treatments with a cover crop, compared with the no-till treatment without cover crop; this was probably the result of root activity. Although these changes generally did not result in larger values of K, they participated in the maintenance of soil structure and K over time.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01173128
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 8:24:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 4:08:10 PM

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Matthieu Carof, Stéphane de Tourdonnet, Yves Coquet, Vincent Hallaire, Jean Roger-Estrade. Hydraulic conductivity and porosity under conventional and no-tillage and the effect of three species of cover crop in northern France. Soil Use and Management, Wiley, 2007, 23 (3), pp.230-237. ⟨10.1111/j.1475-2743.2007.00085.x⟩. ⟨hal-01173128⟩

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