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Soil porosity changes associated with pig slurry fertilisation

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Authors: Àngela D. Bosch‑Serra, Noemí Mateo‑Marín, María Gabriela Molina, Rosa M. Poch y Montserrat M. Boixadera‑Bosch
Issue: 118-4 (518-529)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: compaction, no‑tillage, rainfed, soil micromorphology, soil structure, winter cereal

In dryland Mediterranean areas, the usage of slurries and no‑till are encouraged to reduce costs. Implementation of these practices is a challenge since they may make soil susceptible to a reduction in its physical quality (particularly through compaction). This paper aims to evaluate the effect of pig slurry fertilisation on superficial soil porosity when no‑tillage is used in silty‑loam soil. Winter cereal was fertilised with pig slurry at six rates. There was also a non‑nitrogen treatment (control). The soil was classified as a Typic Xerofluvent. Soil porosity was studied within unaltered soil samples with a micromorphological approach. Soil samples were collected in May. From undisturbed soil samples (0‑0.06 m depth), twenty-one thin sections (5 cm × 13 cm × 30 µm) were obtained and photographed into two areas of 3.15 cm × 4.20 cm. Pores were studied using image analysis and they were classified at different intervals of apparent pore diameter (APD) from >15 µm up to 400 µm. Photography analysis showed porosity changes at 200‑400 µm of APD. In this interval, there was a quadratic relationship between nitrogen rate and percentage of pores (from 3.4 % to 5.2 % of total porosity). Even though the soil was compacted and had a laminar structure, these porosity changes were associated with an improvement of the soil structure. This positive consequence could be caused by the activity of the macrofauna. This effect was only detected when pig slurry was applied at agronomic rates and it was not observed in slurry treatments below 100 kg N·ha−1 nor close to 300 kg N·ha−1.


Bosch‑Serra AD, Mateo‑Marín N, Molina MG, Poch RM, Boixadera‑Bosch MM (2022). Cambios en la porosidad del suelo asociados a la fertilización con purín porcino. ITEA‑Información Técnica Económica Agraria 118(4): 518-529.

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