Pedosphere 29(2): 235--247, 2019
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2019 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Quality and Crop Yield Potential of Moderately Degraded Alfisols Under Different Nutrient Inputs and Cropping Patterns
Wiqar AHMAD1, Farmanullah KHAN2, Zahir SHAH2, Muhammad Jamal KHAN2
1Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, AMK Campus, Mardan 23200 (Pakistan)
2Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar 25130 (Pakistan)
Corresponding Author:Wiqar AHMAD
      Crop performance on degraded soil needs special management practices to overcome soil quality limitations. In a 2-year (from summer 2006 to winter 2007-2008) field trial on a moderately degraded Alfisol in Swabi District (34°7'12" N, 72°28'20" E), Pakistan, the effects of three cropping patterns, cereal-cereal (CC), cereal-legume (CL), and cereal-cereal and legume intercrop (CLI), were tested in main plots under four fertilization treatments in sub-plots, including no fertilization (control), farmers' practice (FP, 60:45 kg ha-1 N:P2O5), recommended dose (RD, 120:90:60 kg ha-1 N:P2O5:K2O), and integrated nutrient management (INM, 20 t ha-1 farmyard manure integrated with 50% N, 100% P, and K of recommended dose), using a split-plot randomized complete block design. The performance of CL was superior than CC in plant height, leaf area index (LAI), cob length, grain yield, biological yield, and grain protein (8%, 26%, 8%, 5%, 10%, and 8% increases, respectively), while CLI confirmed significant improvement only in LAI (25%) over CC. Response to nutrient inputs from all sources was in the order of INM > RD > FP > control, and the maximum net economic return by INM (23% and 2.5 times higher than RD and FP, respectively) indicated severe deficiency of both macro- and micro-nutrients in the soil as well as degraded physical properties. Increases in soil organic matter, total N, total mineral N, available P and K, total porosity, and available water-holding capacity by 6%, 34%, 24%, 50%, 13%, 5%, and 7%, respectively, and decrease in soil bulk density by 4% after four crop seasons indicated optimistic changes in soil quality as a result of the combined effects of fertilization from organic and inorganic sources and legumes within crop rotation. This study suggests that keeping the soil covered under cereal-legume rotation crops all year round and treatment with INM (50% N from organic source and 50% from inorganic source) are the best management practice for sustained production on degraded Alfisols.
Key Words:  crop rotation,crop performance,degraded soil,farmyard manure,integrated nutrient management,legume intercrop,sustained production
Citation: Ahmad W, Khan F, Shah Z, Khan M J. 2019. Quality and crop yield potential of moderately degraded Alfisols under different nutrient inputs and cropping patterns. Pedosphere. 29(2):235-247.
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