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Alfalfa production on a profile modified slowly permeable soil

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Yields of irrigated alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) are lower on Pullman clay loam than on more permeable soils in the same climatic area. The residual effect of thoroughly mixing the soil profile on alfalfa growth and production, and the amounts and timing of irrigations required for maximum alfalfa production on modified and unmodified soil profiles were determined. Alfalfa was grown under 3 profile modification treatments (thoroughly mixing the soil profile to 0, 90, or 150 cm depth) on Pullman clay loam. For the first 3 yr, all plots were either irrigated similarly (1970 and 1972) or unmodified plots were irrigated twice between harvests when necessary (1971). During the next 3 yr, the study was expanded to include 3 irrigation treatments (2 10.2 cm, 1 at 17.8 cm, or 2 15.2 cm irrigations between harvests). During the first 3 yr, when single irrigations were applied between harvests, profile modification increased dry matter yields 40% (90 cm modified) to 60% (150 cm modified) over those for the unmodified check. However, with 2 irrigations between harvests, effects of modification were less marked. In the 2nd phase of the study, with 2 10.2 cm irrigations between harvests, profile modification increased yields 30% (14.1 to 18.4 metric tons/ha). On 90 cm modified soil, 3 yr average yields were 16.6, 18.3 and 20.1 metric tons/ha with 1 17.8, 2 10.2, or 2 15.2 cm irrigations between harvests, respectively. Respective yields on 150 cm modified soil were 17.4, 18.5 and 18.6 metric tons/ha. Yields, water intake rates, bulk densities and surface elevations showed that profile modification treatments made in 1964 were still effective 12 yr later.
Eck, H.V. , Martinez, T. , Wilson, G.C.
20070626 20070702 00000000
Soil Science Society of America journal Nov/Dec 1977, 41 (6)
Soil Science Society of America
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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