Aggregate Stability of Nkpologu Sandy Loam Soil Under Different Soil and Crop Management Systems

Filed in Articles by on July 26, 2022

 – Aggregate Stability of Nkpologu Sandy Loam Soil Under Different Soil and Crop Management Systems –

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A study was conducted in the runoff plots at the University of Nigeria Nsukka Teaching and Research Farm, in 2010 and 2011 to monitor the changes in aggregate stability, and some selected physicochemical properties of Nkpologu sandy loam soil under different cover and soil management systems.

The management systems were bare fallow (BF), grass fallow (GF), legume (CE), groundnut (GN), sorghum (SM), and cassava (CA) cultivation.

Following the characterization of the soil of the study site, three samplings were carried out at five- month interval marking the end of first cropping season, and the start and end of the second cropping season respectively.

There was no change in soil texture due to treatments. The soil was acidic throughout the period of the study with pH values ranging from 5.1 (under BF) to 5.5 (under GF) in 2010 and from 4.8 (BF) to 6.1 (SM) in 2011.

The aggregate stability (AS), mean weight diameter (MWD), water dispersible silt (WDSi), bulk density (BD), total porosity (TP), macroporosity (MACP), aggregate size distributions (> 2 mm, 1- 0.5 mm and < 0.25 mm) and Ksat showed significant (P =0.05) changes under different cover management practices.

The Ksat varied (CV = 52%) significantly (P< 0.05) under the different cover management practices over the sampling period. Generally, the highest values for Ksat, AS and MWD were obtained in the first sampling period whereas the lowest values were obtained in the last sampling period.


Evaluating the impact of agricultural practices on agroecosystem functions is essential to determining the sustainability of management systems which cover the Productivity (Liebig et al., 2001), and environmental components of land use systems (Smyth and Dumanski, 1995).

Soil structure is the physical characteristic most vulnerable to soil management practices. Structure describes the state of aggregation of the solid material in soils and their arrangement into what are called either aggregates, structural units or peds (Doerr, 2007).

Soil structure exerts important influences on the functioning of soil, its ability to support plant and animal life, and its control on environmental quality with special emphasis on soil carbon sequestration, nutrient and gas fluxes and water quality.

A good soil structure is important for sustaining long-term crop production in agricultural soils because it influences water status, workability, resistance to erosion, nutrient availability and crop growth and development (Piccolo and Mbagwu, 1999).

Soil structure is often expressed as the degree of stability of aggregates being a major factor which moderates physical, chemical, and biological processes leading the soil dynamics (Bronick and Lal, 2005). Thus; aggregate stability is a measure of the structural stability of soils (Mbagwu, 2003).

Soil aggregate stability, defined as the ability of the aggregates to remain intact when subjected to a given stress, is an important index of structure that affects the movement of and storage of water, aeration, erosion, biological activity and the growth of crops (Amezketa et al., 2003).


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