Soil organic matter storage in irrigated Tsitsikamma dairy farms with minimum tilled pasture mixtures: case studies
Loke, Palo Francis
Du Preez, Christiaan Cornelius
MetadataShow full item record
In recent years, pasture production changed from conventional tilled single pastures to minimum tilled mixed pastures in the Tsitsikamma region, South Africa. However, storage of soil organic matter (SOM) under minimum tilled mixed pastures is not yet quantified. This study evaluated SOM indices in the upper 60 cm soil of six-year-old mixed pastures in the Upper (UT) and Lower (LT) Tsitsikamma regions. Soil samples were collected at 0–15, 15–30, 30–45, and 45–60 cm soil layers of five farms (F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5) treated with different rates of fertilizer (NPK) alone and in combination with dairy effluent (DE) and/or poultry manure (PM). Results of this study indicated that there were no significant differences in bulk density, total nitrogen (N), and rate of potentially mineralizable N (PMN) between farms in the UT region. In the LT region, NPK, DE, and PM combinations improved soil C accumulation relative to the soil application of NPK. Higher C/N ratios in the LT region suggested adequate C for microbial energy and maintenance. Integrating manure into minimum tilled pasture mixtures as a replacement for synthetic fertilizers seems to be a feasible option to promote SOM storage, but remains only feasible by applying site-specific management strategies.