Effects of soil compaction in the sub-humid cropping environment in Pakistan on uptake of NPK and grain yield in wheat (Triticum aestivum): II Alleviation.
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Alleviation of soil compaction can be achieved through application of appropriate measures which will vary from soil to soil and with the socio-economic factors of the farmers. The effects of alleviation measures applied to artificially compacted soil on yield components, grain yield, dry matter and nutrient uptake by wheat was studied at the Agriculture Research Institute, Mingora, Pakistan, in two separate experiments in 2002–2003 and 2003–2004. The improvement measures included deep ploughing (DP), farmyard manure (FYM) and gypsum (GYP), and comprised a compacted control and four treatments T1 (control), T2 (DP), T3 (DP + FYM), T4 (DP + gypsum) and T5 (DP + FYM + GYP), arranged in completely randomized block design replicated four times. Improvement measures applied to compacted soil significantly decreased soil bulk density and increased total porosity. Bulk density decreased in the range of 12–15% while total porosity showed an increase of 16–23% over the control. Improvement measures significantly increased concentration and uptake of NPK in both years. Higher concentration and uptake was recorded during the second year as compared to the first year, probably as a result of higher seasonal rainfall in the second year. The uptake of NPK by wheat plants increased in the range of 43–51, 25–94 and 11–28%, respectively, over plants in the compacted control. Similarly, improvement treatments increased grains spike−1, thousand grain weight, dry matter accumulation and grain yield in the range of 14–21, 5–14, 3–10 and 21–37% respectively, over the control. This work demonstrates that it is possible to overcome the deleterious effects of compaction induced by wheeled traffic, and improve crop yields and nutrient uptake in intensive cropping systems in rainfed environments in Pakistan and similar environments.
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