Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 501-508

Carbon indices to assess quality of management systems in a Subtropical Acrisol

Zanatta, Josiléia AcordiVieira, Frederico Costa BeberBriedis, CleverDieckow, JefersonBayer, Cimélio

Management systems to improve soil quality are essential for agricultural and environmental sustainability. We assessed the quality of soil management systems applied to a subtropical Acrisol in terms of the carbon management index (CMI), the stratification ratio for total organic carbon (SR-TOC) and light fraction of organic matter (SR-LF). In addition, we examined their relationship to chemical, physical and biological soil quality indicators, as well as to maize yield. The study was conducted on a long-term experiment (18 years) in southern Brazil involving two different systems [no tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT)], two cropping systems [black oat/maize (O/M) and black oat + vetch/maize + cowpea (OV/MC)] and two nitrogen fertilizer rates for maize (0 and 180 kg ha–1). Based on the three indices, the best managements for soil quality comprised NT (50-212 % better than CT), legume cover crops (10-47 % better than O/M) and N fertilization (8-33 % better than no fertilizer). All three indices proved accurate to assess the impact of soil management systems, especially SR-LF, which showed increased sensitivity and close relationships with chemical, physical and biological soil quality indicators. On the other hand, a poor relationship was observed between soil C indices and maize yield, which was improved only by legume cover crops and N fertilization. The results showed that the association of no-till system to an abundant supply of crop residues is key to ensure high soil quality and crop yields in humid subtropical regions.(AU)

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