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Impact of rice straw mulch on soil physical properties, sunflower root distribution and yield in a salt-affected clay-textured soil

Paul, P.L.C., Bell, R.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-7756-3755, Barrett-Lennard, E.G. and Kabir, E. (2021) Impact of rice straw mulch on soil physical properties, sunflower root distribution and yield in a salt-affected clay-textured soil. Agriculture, 11 (3). Article 264.

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Abstract

Puddling of clay soils for rice transplanting causes a loss of soil structure and vertical shrinkage cracks that are hypothesized to hamper sunflower root growth in the following dry season. To alleviate soil constraints for sunflower root growth and yield, we examined the effects of three levels of mulch and two irrigation regimes in the dry season on a clay-textured soil in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. These treatments were no-mulch, rice straw mulch at 5 t ha−1 and 10 t ha−1, irrigation applied to the field capacity (I1) and a water supply double that of the I1 treatment (I2). The rice straw mulch significantly increased soil water content by 3–9% and decreased soil penetration resistance by 28–77% and crack volume by 84–91% at A 0–30 cm soil depth relative to the no-mulch treatment. The better root development with the rice straw mulch increased sunflower yield by 23%. No benefit or further reduction in soil penetration resistance or yield improvement was obtained from increasing the level of mulch from 5 to 10 t ha−1 or the volume of irrigation water. It is concluded that ameliorating soil constraints by mulch application led to better root growth in the upper root zone and the increased yield in the clay soil.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Sustainable Farming Systems
Food Futures Institute
Land Management Group
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors
United Nations SDGs: Goal 2: Zero Hunger
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/60389
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