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versión On-line ISSN 2521-9766versión impresa ISSN 1405-3195


LOZANO, Zenaida; ROMERO, Humberto  y  BRAVO, Carlos. Influence of cover crops and crazing on soil physical properties in savanna soil. Agrociencia [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.2, pp.135-146. ISSN 2521-9766.

Production systems based on single crops and grazing of crop leftovers have produced grave soil degradation problems in soils of Venezuelan savannas. As alternatives to prevent degradation and improve the quality of these soils, some conservation management systems have been proposed. With the objective of evaluating changes in physical properties of a typical soil of a natural savanna, from use of cover crops (Brachiaria dictyoneura and Centrosema macrocarpum) as residues for direct corn (Zea mays L.) sowing and later grazing with cattle, a trial was set up in a soil classified as Typic Plinthustults, located in the savannas of Guárico (Venezuela). The initial physical characteristics of natural savanna soils were characterized, before establishing the trial (2002) and the following were evaluated in samples collected in each plot (in two seasons of the 2006-2007 cycle; before and after grazing): bulk density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, porosity and its distribution, resistance to mechanical penetration, and humidity volume content, in samples taken at 0 to 5 and 5 to 15 cm of depth, in each parcel. Analysis of the results indicates that there were statistical differences in the physical properties evaluated, which could be due to the cover crop and the season; especially bulk density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, total porosity and mechanical resistance. The best physical conditions were present in the superficial layer of the soil (0 to 5 cm) and in the B. dictyoneura cover.

Palabras llave : Brachiaria dictyoneura; Centrosema macrocarpum; soil quality; conservation management; direct drilling.

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