Soil and crop management practices can affect the physical properties and have a direct impact on soil sustainability and crop performance. The objective of this study was to investigate how soil physical properties were affected by three years of tillage, cover crop and crop rotation treatments in a corn and soybean field. The study was conducted on a Waldron siltyloam soil at Lincoln University of Missouri. Soil physical properties studied were soil bulk density, volumetric and gravimetric water contents, volumetric air content, total pore space, air-filled and water-filled pore space, gas diffusion coefficient and pore tortuosity factor. Results showed significant interactions (p<0.05) between cover crop and crop rotation for bulk density, gravimetric and total pore space in 2013. In addition, cover crop also significantly interacted (p<0.05) with tillage for bulk density and total pore space. All soil physical properties studied were significantly affected by the depth of sampling (p<0.0001), except for bulk density, the pore tortuosity factor and total pore space in 2012, and gravimetric and volumetric in 2013. Overall, soil physical properties were significantly affected by the treatments, with the effects changing from one year to another. Addition of a cover crop improved soil physical properties better in rotation than in monoculture.
Anken T., Weisskopf P., Zihlmann U., Forrer H., Jansa J., and Perhacova K., 2004. Long-term tillage system effects under moist cool conditions in Switzerland. Soil Till. Res., 78, 171-183.
Arshad M.A., Franzluebbers A.J., and Azooz R.H., 1999. Components of surface soil structure under conventional and notillage in northwestern Canada. Soil Till. Res., 53, 41-47.
Blanco-Canqui H., Mikha M.M., Presley D.R., and Claassen, M.M., 2011. Addition of cover crops enhances no-till potential for improving soil physical properties. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 75, 1471-1482.
Bruce R.R., Langdale G.W., West L.T., and Miller W.P., 1992. Soil surface modification by biomass inputs affecting rainfall infiltration. Soil Sci. Soc. Am., 56, 1614-1620.
Buschiazzo D.E., Panigatti J.L., and Unger P.W., 1998. Tillage effects on soil properties and crop production in the subhumid and semiarid Argentinean Pampas. Soil Till. Res., 49, 105-116.
Ewing R.P., Wagger M.G., and Denton H.P., 1991. Tillage and cover crop management effects on soil ater and corn yield. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 55, 1081-1085.
Gómez J.A., Giráldez J.V., Pastor M., and Fereres E., 1999. Effects of tillage method on soil physical properties, infiltration and yield in an olive orchard. Soil Till. Res., 52, 167-175.
Grant C.A. and Lafond G.P., 1993. The effects of tillage systems and crop sequences on soil bulk density and penetration resistance on a clay soil in southern Saskatchewan. Can. J. Soil Sci., 73, 223-232.
Hill R.L., 1990. Long-term conventional and no-tillage effects on selected soil physical properties. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 54, 161-166.
Hussain I., Olson K.R., and Siemens L.C., 1998. Long-term tillage effects on physical properties of eroded soil. Soil Sci., 163, 970-981.
Joyce B.A., Wallender W.W., Mitchell J.P., Huyck L.M., Temple S.R., Brostrom P.N., and Hsiao T.C., 2002. Infiltration and soil water storage under winter cover cropping in California’s Sacramento Valley. Trans. ASAE, 45, 315-326.
Logsdon S.D., Kaspar T.C., and Cambardella C.A., 1999. Depth-incremental soil properties under no-till or chisel management. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 63, 197-200.
Mahboubi A.A., Lal R., and Faussey, N.R., 1993. Twenty-eight years of tillage effects on two soils in Ohio. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 57, 506-512.
Nkongolo N.V., Hatano R., and Kakembo V., 2010. Diffusivity models and greenhouse gases fluxes from a forest, pasture, grassland and corn field in Northern Hokkaido, Japan. Pedosphere, 20, 747-760.
Osunbitan J.A., Oyedele D.J., and Adekalu K.O., 2005. Tillage effects on bulk density, hydraulic conductivity and strength of a loamy sand soil in southwestern Nigeria. Soil Till. Res., 82, 57-64.
Özgöz E., Akbş F., Çetin M., Erşahin S., and Günal H., 2007. Spatial variability of soil physical properties as affected by different tillage systems. N. Z. J. Crop Hortic. Sci., 35, 1-13.
Radcliffe D.E., Clark R.L., Tollner E.W., Hargrove W.L., and Golabi M.H., 1988. Effect of tillage practices on infiltration and soil strength of a typic hapludult soil after ten years. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 52, 798-804.
Raper R.L., Reeves D.W., Burmester C.H., and Schwab E.B., 2000. Tillage depth, tillage timing, and cover crop effects on cotton yield, soil strength, and tillage energy requirements. Appl. Eng. Agric., 16, 379-385.
Reeleder R.D., Miller J.J., Ball Coelho B.R., and Roy R.C., 2006. Impacts of tillage, cover crop, and nitrogen on populations of earthworms, microarthropods, and soil fungi in a cultivated fragile soil. Appl. Soil Ecol., 33, 243-257.
Rhoton F.E., Bruce R.R., Buehring N.W., Elkins G.B., Langdale C.W., and Tyler D.D., 1993. Chemical and physical characteristics of four soil types under conventional and no-tillage systems. Soil Till. Res., 28, 51-61.
Sharratt B., Zhang M., and Sparrow S., 2006. Twenty years of tillage research in subarctic Alaska: I. Impact on soil strength, aggregation, roughness, and residue cover. Soil Till. Res., 91, 75-81.
Smith K.A. and Mullins C.E., 1991. Soil analysis: physical methods. Marcel Dekker Press, New York, USA.
Strudley M.W., Green T.R., and Ascough II, J.C., 2008. Tillage effects on soil hydraulic properties in space and time: State of the science. Soil Till. Res., 99, 4-48.
Taboada M.A., Micucci F.G., Cosentino D.J., and Lavado R.S., 1998. Comparison of compaction induced by conventional and zero tillage in two soils of the Rolling Pampa of Argentina. Soil Till. Res., 49, 57-63.
Tsegaye T. and Hill R.L., 1998. Intensive tillage effects on spatial variability of soil physical properties. Soil Sci., 163, 143-154.
Villamil M.B., Bollero G.A., Darmody R.G., Simmons F.W., and Bullock, D.G., 2006. No-till corn/soybean systems including winter cover crops. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 70, 1936-1944.
Wander M.M., and Bollero G.A., 1999. Soil quality assessment of tillage impacts in Illinois. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 63, 961-971.
Wilson G.F., Lal R., and Okigbo B.N., 1982. Effects of cover crops on soil structure and on yield of subsequent arable crops grown under strip tillage on an eroded Alfisol. Soil Till. Res., 2, 233-250.