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Effect of Soil Conditioning on Soil Penetration Resistance and Traction Power Demand of Ploughing

Effect of Soil Conditioning on Soil Penetration Resistance and Traction Power Demand of Ploughing Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 Original paper DOI: 10.2478/agri-2021-0011 EFFECT OF SOIL CONDITIONING ON SOIL PENETRATION RESISTANCE AND TRACTION POWER DEMAND OF PLOUGHING 1 1 1,2 2 1,2 GÉZA TUBA , GYÖRGYI KOVÁCS , LÚCIA SINKA , PÁL NAGY , ARZU RIVERA-GARCIA , 3 3 1* ZUZANA BAJUSOVÁ , PAVOL FINDURA , JÓZSEF ZSEMBELI Research Institute of Karcag, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Karcag, Hungary Kerpely Kálmán Doctoral School, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Nitra, Slovak Republic Tuba, G., Kovács, Gy., Sinka, L., Nagy, P., Rivera-Garcia, A., Bajusová, Z., Findura, P., and Zsembeli, J. 2021: Effect of soil conditioning on soil penetration resistance and traction power demand of ploughing. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67(3), 113 – 123. Soil compaction and degradation due to improper tillage are problems involving significant natural and economic damages. On compacted soils, suitable cultivation can be implemented only with higher energy and traction force input. In our study, the effect of a soil conditioner (Neosol) was examined on the penetration resistance of the soil and the traction power demand for ploughing in the experiment set up in the East-Slovak Plain in 2017 ‒ 2018 to justify several preliminary results showing that long-term soil conditioning results in enhanced root system, improved soil structure, cultivability, water- and salt regime. We found a positive effect of Neosol application with both investigated parameters and its long-term effect was also justified. The penetration resistance values of the soil of the untreated plot were 17 ‒ 23% higher, while the traction power demand val- ues were 9 ‒ 32% lower in comparison with the Neosol treated plot in the first and the second year of the study, respectively. We assume the cumulative positive effect of soil conditioning on the physical soil properties in the study area, therefore the long-term application of Neosol is recommended for farms having similar soil properties. Key words: soil compaction, penetration resistance, traction power, soil conditioning Ploughing was the only basic operation of soil structure turning action of the mouldboard, plough- cultivation for a long time, even recently it is the ing is the most intensive tillage operation and induc- most common procedure in soil preparation. Nev- es high soil resistance. Soil resistance to ploughing ertheless, ploughing is one of the most energy de- is that force which is generated by the soil against manding tillage operations in crop production. De- the tillage tool involving the resistance of the soil pending on the soil status, tillage without turning the particles against dissevering, the surface friction be- upper soil layers has 10 ‒ 50% lower energy demand tween the soil and the tillage tool, the soil mass, and compared to ploughing (Moitzi et al. 2013). There is the friction between the soil particles (Birkás 2008). a positive correlation among the energy demand, the Compacted soils have high mechanical resistance, fuel consumption and the intensity of soil cultivation, according to the literature, soil is considered harm- all these depend on the number and the depth of the fully compacted if its penetration resistance is high- tillage operations, and the type of the tools applied er than 3 MPa or its bulk density exceeds 1.5 g/cm (Godwin 2007). Due to the large surface and the soil (Soane & Ourwerkerk 1995). Due to compaction, József Zsembeli (*Corresponding author), Research Institute of Karcag, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Karcag, Hungary. E-mail: zsembeli.jozsef@uni-mate.hu © 2021 Authors. This is an open access article licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). 113 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 the mechanical resistance and the bulk density of main goal of the application of Neosol is to improve soils are increasing, while their porosity is decreas- the soil properties through aiding the extraction and ing, all these result in lower biological activity, infil- transformation of nutrients to forms available by the tration rate, hydrological conductivity, and aeration. plants (Sulewska et al. 2016). Soil conditioning ap- As a consequence of these unfavourable processes, plied in some consecutive years results in looser and the water and nutrient uptake of crops is limited as improved soil structure and better cultivability due well as root development, furthermore the risk of to the enhanced biological activity and the extend- water loggings and the appearance of excess waters ed root system (Szűcs et al. 2015; Urbanovicova et is increasing (Nyiri 1993; Birkás 1996). Several re- al. 2018). In their preliminary study, Zsembeli et al. searchers found soil resistance to be a more sensi- (2019) established that the application of Neosol tive parameter than soil bulk density to express the had a positive impact on the water and salt balance degree of soil compaction (Freitag 1971; Pigeon et of the soil by the improved infiltration and percola - al. 1977; Sanchez 1990). The penetration resistance tion, and also contributes to preserving more water of the soil measured by means of a penetrometer in the root zone. means the force needed for inserting the probe of This study was aimed to determine and quantify the penetrometer into the soil. Penetrometers are the effects of Neosol on the penetration resistance very suitable tools for checking the quality of tillage of the soil and on the traction power demand of and for quantifying the effects of soil amendments ploughing in the second and third years after the first and conditioners (Sinóros-Szabó & Szőllősi 1999; application in a field experiment. Tuba 2013; Tuba et al. 2020). The energy demand of soil cultivation is generally characterised by fuel MATERIAL AND METHODS consumption, though it is also possible to deter- mine the soil resistance against the actually used The experiment was carried out close to the vil- cultivation tool, which means the traction power or lage of Stretavka, Slovakia in 2017 and 2018. The pull force required to move the tractor (Al-Jalil et study area is located near the Eastern-Slovakian al. 2001; Forgács & Czimbalmos 2008; Md-Tahir Plain, on the flood plain of Uh, Latorica, and Čierna et al. 2021). The moisture content of the cultivated Voda rivers at the altitude of 102 m. The average soil layers must be considered as it is in negative groundwater level fluctuates between 1 and 1.5 m. correlation with the penetration resistance of heavy The coordinates of the experimental plots are textured soils (Campbell & O’Sullivan 1991). 48°36’47.4”N 21°58’38.3”E. The soils of the area Soil conditioning means the application of yield were formed on eolic Quaternary loess and river increasing and bio-stimulant materials that positive- sediments containing 50 ‒ 70% quartz, 15 ‒ 20% ly influencing the physical, chemical, and biological clay minerals and calcium-carbonate with sandy properties of the soil. Recently, the application of loam texture. bio-stimulants is extensive as they ensure better util- The experiment was set up in 2016, when the ap- isation of the yield potential of crops, consequent- plication of Neosol was started to establish its effect ly resulting in increased yields, higher quality, and on the soil and the yields of the crops grown there. stronger pest tolerance or even resistance (Kováč Our measurements were accomplished on two plots et al. 2017; Kocira et al. 2020a; 2020b; 2020c). In of the experiment, where conventional tillage based our study, Neosol (formerly called PRP-SOL) was applied, which is a concentrated, premium quali- on ploughing to the depth of 0.25 ‒ 0.28 m is ap- ty soil conditioner. Due to its substances originat- plied. The soil moisture, penetration resistance and th ing from sea algae and the MIP (Mineral Inducer traction power measurements were conducted on 9 th October 2017, while on 8 November 2018, when Process) technology, Neosol supplies the trace el- the soil status was optimal for ploughing. The size ements essential for the enzymatic activities of the of the Neosol treated plot is 10 ha, while the control soil microflora involved in mineral assimilation by plot is 11.9 ha (Figure 1). the plants. It enhances the biological activity of the soil, consequently increases soil fertility (I1). The 114 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 Soybean was grown in the investigated plots in 2016, Measurement of soil moisture content winter wheat in 2017, and spring barley in 2018, re- The soil moisture content (v/v%) was measured spectively. Neosol was applied parallel (in the same in the layers of 0 ‒ 0.1 m, 0.1 ‒ 0.2 m, and 0.2 ‒ 0.3 m operation) with fertilisation in the dose of 200 kg/ha in 3 repetitions by means of an “SMT 100” probe before sowing each year, then it was mixed into the (Umwelt-Geräte-Technik GmbH, Munich, Germa- upper soil layer (0 ‒ 0.1 m) when the seedbed was ny). The averages of the 4 repetitive measurements created. The main parameters of Neosol soil condi- were calculated and illustrated. The “SMT 100” tioner are summarized in Table 1. probe device is compact, robust but also elastic and durable, therefore versatilely applicable for the Figure 1. Satellite photo of the experimental plots taken in 2016. Note: 1 ‒ Control; 2 ‒ Neosol treated, the red lines show the tracks of the traction power measurements. 115 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113−123 in-situ measurements of the soil moisture content. values expressed in MPa calculated from the surface This device combines the advantages of a low-cost area of the cone and the detected force for each 0.01 frequency domain reflectometry (FDR) system with metre thick soil layer during the measurement. The the accuracy of a time domain reflectometry (TDR) data gained from the upper 0.05 m soil layer were system (I2), therefore we gained reliable data even not evaluated as they are not reliable due to the so in the heavy textured soil of the investigated plots. called ‘soil surface effect’. Measurement of penetration resistance Determination of traction power demand of The penetration resistance of the soil was mea- ploughing sured by means of a „3T System” (3T System Bt., A special device system was used to determine Hungary) electronic layer indicator (penetrometer) the traction power demand of ploughing. The system developed by Sinóros-Szabó and Szőllősi (1999) in consists of two load cells (force transducers) and a five replications in each treatment in the soil layer of measuring frame connected to a Hottinger Baldwin the basic cultivation (0 ‒ 30 cm). The penetrometer Messtechnik (Darmstadt, Germany) Spider-8 mo- detects the force needed to insert the probe ending bile digital data logger (Figure 2). The load cells in a 60° cone into the soil and records the resistance detect the force between the tractor and the plough T a b l e 1 Main parameters of Neosol CaO MgO pH Bulk density Na O K O N P O Particle size 2 2 2 5 27% 16% 7.2 1.2 g/cm 4.5% 0.7% 0.3% 0.03% <0.32 mm Source: Olmix Group (I1) Figure 2. Measurement of traction power demand of ploughing in Stretavka, 2018. 1 ‒ measurement frame; 2 ‒ load cell; 3 ‒ mouldboard of the plough. 116 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 and converts it into an electrical signal that can be during our measurements was 0.2 seconds. These detected by the data logger. The signals are trans- measurements were done in two replications on formed, recorded and displayed as real-time dynam- both plots. The data gained for the more compacted ic data by the „Catman 4.5 Release 3” software in ends of the plots, where the tractors turn back, were a connected computer. The frequency of records not considered during the data processing. The re- Figure 3. Soil profiles before and in the investigated years. Soil moisture content [v/v%] 0 5 10 15 20 25 0.0 - 0.1 0.1 - 0.2 0.2 - 0.3 Control Neosol Figure 4. Soil moisture contents in 2017 (averages of 4 repeated measurements with the standard deviations). Depth [m] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 cording of the data was started when the tractor pull- by means of the own software of the “3T System”, ing the plough reached the speed of 6 ‒ 7 km/h and while the “Catman 4.5 Release 3” software was stopped when slowed down at the end of the plot. used to process the traction force data. Further anal- Using this way, we gained and analysed two times yses and illustrations were done by using Microsoft 800 data for both plots, the averages of the two data Excel 2016 software. We used descriptive statistical series were illustrated. analyses and one-way analysis of variance for the The penetration resistance data were processed further evaluation of the soil moisture content, soil Soil moisture content [v/v%] 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 0.0 - 0.1 0.1 - 0.2 0.2 - 0.3 Control Neosol Figure 5. Soil moisture contents in 2018 (averages of 4 repeated measurements with the standard deviations). Control Neosol 0.1 0.2 0.3 Depth [m] Figure 6. Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration resistance in 2017. Penetration resistance [MPa] Depth [m] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 penetration resistance and traction power data, re- In the autumn of 2018, the soil of the experimen- spectively. tal plots was drier than the optimum at the date of the measurements. In the three investigated layers, the soil of the untreated plot was wetter, but the dif- RESULTS ferences were not considerable (Figure 5). Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration Development of the soil structure resistance Pits were dug in the plots of the experiment each Based on the penetration resistance results, we th th st year (5 July 2016; 17 May 2017; 1 June 2018) to found statistically different values for the treated study the soil profiles (Figure 3), but no extensive and the control plots (Control: 7.02 MPa, Neosol: data were quantified for describing the agronomic 5.38 MPa, LSD 5% = 0.23 MPa) in 2017. The soil of structure of the investigated soil. Nevertheless, al- the Neosol treated plot was more favourable in the though 2018 was a year with unfavourably dry veg- whole studied profile (0 ‒ 0.3 m) at the date of the etation period, which is indicated by the colour and measurements (Figure 6). The differences are larg- the compactness of the soil, the development of the er than it could be caused by the differences in the thickness of the soil layer with favourable agronomic actual soil moisture contents, therefore, we assume structure and the deepening root zone were visible a soil structure improving effect of soil conditioning and impressive. in that case. Soil moisture status At the date of the measurements in 2018, the soil At the date of the measurements in the autumn of of both investigated plots was compacted (Figure 7) 2017, the moisture status of the soil was favourable based on the penetration resistance data, though the in terms of soil cultivation. Comparing the Neosol treated soil was less compacted in the whole pro- treated and the untreated control plots (Figure 4), it file and showed increasing tendency with the depth. can be confirmed that the soil moisture content of The soil of the untreated control plot was unfavour- the upper 0.1 m layer was very similar, but in the ably compacted even in the upper (0.06 ‒ 0.2 m) lower layers, more moisture was preserved in the layer with an average value of 8.2 MPa). The low- soil of the plot treated with the soil conditioner. er 0.2 ‒ 0.3 m layer was extremely compacted, we Control Neosol 0.1 0.2 0.3 Depth [m] Figure 7. Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration resistance in 2018. Penetration resistance [MPa] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 detected 10 MPa, which is the upper threshold of control plots in 2018 (Control: 8.64 MPa, Neosol: the measurement range of the device we used, there- 7.18 MPa, LSD 5% = 0.29 MPa). fore it can be possible that even higher values were Comparing the penetration resistance in the cul- characteristic to that layer that we were not able to tivated soil layer (0 ‒ 0.3 m) in the two investigated record. years, we found increasing values for both treat- Similarly to the previous year, we found a signif- ments, which is probably in close correlation with icant difference between the penetration resistance the soil moisture content differences. In both years, of the soils of the Neosol treated and the untreated the most frequent values (Mode) measured in the Figure 8. The soil penetration resistance data for 2017 and 2018. Control Neosol Number of measurements Figure 9. Effect of Neosol treatment on the average traction power demand of ploughing in 2017. Traction power demand [kN] 800 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 control plot were 10 MPa, which is the upper thresh- were within 1 v/v%, which cannot be considered a old of the measurement range of the penetrometer. treatment effect. In the case of the Neosol treatment, the majority We found the soil of the untreated control plot of the penetration resistance values were under the being more compacted in both years, its penetration Median (Figure 8). resistance values were 23.4% higher in 2017, while 17% higher in 2018 in comparison with the Neosol Effect of soil conditioning on the traction power de- treated plot, respectively. Comparing the two inves- mand tigated years, it could be concluded that the higher In 2017, the differences in the traction power de- soil moisture contents due to the more favourable mand of ploughing were similar to the differences weather conditions, lower penetration resistance in the soil penetration between the Neosol treated values were detected in 2017, contrary to the ex- and the untreated plots. 1600 data were considered tremely high values recorded for the dry season of and assessed for both plots (Figure 9). Due to the high measurement frequency, the data show a cer- The traction power demand of ploughing showed tain deviation for both plots, nevertheless the stan- higher values in the case of the untreated control dard deviation for the data measured in the soil of plot in both study years. The force needed to pull the Neosol treated plot was nearly 1 kN lower than of the nontreated control (Table 2). That means a more even traction power demand of ploughing T a b l e 2 on the treated plot, while wider data range, higher Descriptive statistics of the traction power demand (kN) maximum and lower minimum values with slightly data for 2017 larger standard error are characteristic to the untreat- ed control. The average traction power demand of Control Neosol ploughing is lower for the Neosol treated plot and Mean 35.12 32.52 significantly differs from the control at the confi- Standard error 0.12 0.10 dence level of 95% (LSD 5% = 0.18 kN). Deviation 4.76 3.89 In 2018, under compacted soil conditions, sig- Variance 22.66 15.12 nificantly less traction power demand was charac - teristic to pull the plough with five mouldboards in Minimum 16.91 17.46 the case of the plot treated with Neosol in compari- Maximum 48.03 43.07 son with the untreated control plot (Figure 10). Just Number of cases 1,600 1,600 like in 2017, 1600 data were processed for each plot Confidence (95.0%) 0.233 0.191 (Table 3). Higher traction power was needed to cul- tivate the control plot, the minimum and maximum values were higher with the standard deviation and T a b l e 3 error values nearly the same in comparison to the Descriptive statistics of the traction power demand (kN) treated plot. The averages values significantly dif- data for 2018 fered (LSD 5% = 0.16 kN). Control Neosol Mean 33.66 22.78 DISCUSSION Standard error 0.10 0.10 Deviation Analysing the soil moisture content data, we could 3.85 4.03 Variance figure out only a little difference in the 0.1 ‒ 0.3 m 14.82 16.21 layer between the variants when the soil moisture Minimum 24.80 15.21 contents were in the range of 14 ‒ 19 v/v% in 2017, Maximum 47.45 40.79 but we do not consider this difference as the effect Number of cases 1,600 1,600 of Neosol application. In 2018, all the soil moisture Confidence (95.0%) data were approximately 14 v/v%, the differences 0.19 0.20 121 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 Control Neosol Number of measurements Figure 10. Effect of the Neosol on the average traction power demand in 2018 the plough by the tractor was not truly manifested CONCLUSIONS in the difference we figured out in the soil moisture contents between the two plots. The average traction Based on our experimental results, it can be con- power demand of ploughing was nearly the same cluded that the penetration resistance and traction on the control plot in both years, while the Neosol power values characterising and quantifying the treatment resulted in a considerable (30%) decrease compactness and cultivability of the soil were low- from one year to the other. Nevertheless, we sus- er hence more favourable on the plot treated with pect a long-term, cumulative effect behind that de- Neosol soil conditioner in both investigated years. crease (improvement), which was also justified in From the point of view of farmers, the main goal of other studies. Several researchers reported about the application of soil conditioners is to ensure better the significant correlation between the penetration growing conditions for the crops, hence to achieving resistance of the soil and the yields; soil resistance higher yield quantity and quality. Nevertheless, our above the optimal threshold results in yield depres- study pointed out that Neosol application resulted in sion and lower quality. A high degree of compact- a much lower traction power demand of ploughing ness in the deeper soil layers impedes water and nu- by the second year of the study even under unfa- trient movement, while the compacted topsoil has vourable (dry soil status) conditions. Based on this a negative effect on root development and aeration observation, we assume a cumulative positive effect in the soil (Neményi et al. 2006; Trusic et al. 2008; of soil conditioning on the physical soil properties Whalley et al. 2008). This improving effect was also in the study area, therefore the long-term application proven by Bajus (2020), who found a 12.7% higher of soil conditioners with identical features is recom- yield of winter wheat in 2017 and 4.9% extra yield mended for farms having similar soil properties. of summer barley in 2018 due to soil conditioning with Neosol in comparison with the untreated con- Acknowledgement: The research was financed trols, respectively. 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Effect of Soil Conditioning on Soil Penetration Resistance and Traction Power Demand of Ploughing

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Abstract

Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 Original paper DOI: 10.2478/agri-2021-0011 EFFECT OF SOIL CONDITIONING ON SOIL PENETRATION RESISTANCE AND TRACTION POWER DEMAND OF PLOUGHING 1 1 1,2 2 1,2 GÉZA TUBA , GYÖRGYI KOVÁCS , LÚCIA SINKA , PÁL NAGY , ARZU RIVERA-GARCIA , 3 3 1* ZUZANA BAJUSOVÁ , PAVOL FINDURA , JÓZSEF ZSEMBELI Research Institute of Karcag, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Karcag, Hungary Kerpely Kálmán Doctoral School, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Nitra, Slovak Republic Tuba, G., Kovács, Gy., Sinka, L., Nagy, P., Rivera-Garcia, A., Bajusová, Z., Findura, P., and Zsembeli, J. 2021: Effect of soil conditioning on soil penetration resistance and traction power demand of ploughing. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67(3), 113 – 123. Soil compaction and degradation due to improper tillage are problems involving significant natural and economic damages. On compacted soils, suitable cultivation can be implemented only with higher energy and traction force input. In our study, the effect of a soil conditioner (Neosol) was examined on the penetration resistance of the soil and the traction power demand for ploughing in the experiment set up in the East-Slovak Plain in 2017 ‒ 2018 to justify several preliminary results showing that long-term soil conditioning results in enhanced root system, improved soil structure, cultivability, water- and salt regime. We found a positive effect of Neosol application with both investigated parameters and its long-term effect was also justified. The penetration resistance values of the soil of the untreated plot were 17 ‒ 23% higher, while the traction power demand val- ues were 9 ‒ 32% lower in comparison with the Neosol treated plot in the first and the second year of the study, respectively. We assume the cumulative positive effect of soil conditioning on the physical soil properties in the study area, therefore the long-term application of Neosol is recommended for farms having similar soil properties. Key words: soil compaction, penetration resistance, traction power, soil conditioning Ploughing was the only basic operation of soil structure turning action of the mouldboard, plough- cultivation for a long time, even recently it is the ing is the most intensive tillage operation and induc- most common procedure in soil preparation. Nev- es high soil resistance. Soil resistance to ploughing ertheless, ploughing is one of the most energy de- is that force which is generated by the soil against manding tillage operations in crop production. De- the tillage tool involving the resistance of the soil pending on the soil status, tillage without turning the particles against dissevering, the surface friction be- upper soil layers has 10 ‒ 50% lower energy demand tween the soil and the tillage tool, the soil mass, and compared to ploughing (Moitzi et al. 2013). There is the friction between the soil particles (Birkás 2008). a positive correlation among the energy demand, the Compacted soils have high mechanical resistance, fuel consumption and the intensity of soil cultivation, according to the literature, soil is considered harm- all these depend on the number and the depth of the fully compacted if its penetration resistance is high- tillage operations, and the type of the tools applied er than 3 MPa or its bulk density exceeds 1.5 g/cm (Godwin 2007). Due to the large surface and the soil (Soane & Ourwerkerk 1995). Due to compaction, József Zsembeli (*Corresponding author), Research Institute of Karcag, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Karcag, Hungary. E-mail: zsembeli.jozsef@uni-mate.hu © 2021 Authors. This is an open access article licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). 113 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 the mechanical resistance and the bulk density of main goal of the application of Neosol is to improve soils are increasing, while their porosity is decreas- the soil properties through aiding the extraction and ing, all these result in lower biological activity, infil- transformation of nutrients to forms available by the tration rate, hydrological conductivity, and aeration. plants (Sulewska et al. 2016). Soil conditioning ap- As a consequence of these unfavourable processes, plied in some consecutive years results in looser and the water and nutrient uptake of crops is limited as improved soil structure and better cultivability due well as root development, furthermore the risk of to the enhanced biological activity and the extend- water loggings and the appearance of excess waters ed root system (Szűcs et al. 2015; Urbanovicova et is increasing (Nyiri 1993; Birkás 1996). Several re- al. 2018). In their preliminary study, Zsembeli et al. searchers found soil resistance to be a more sensi- (2019) established that the application of Neosol tive parameter than soil bulk density to express the had a positive impact on the water and salt balance degree of soil compaction (Freitag 1971; Pigeon et of the soil by the improved infiltration and percola - al. 1977; Sanchez 1990). The penetration resistance tion, and also contributes to preserving more water of the soil measured by means of a penetrometer in the root zone. means the force needed for inserting the probe of This study was aimed to determine and quantify the penetrometer into the soil. Penetrometers are the effects of Neosol on the penetration resistance very suitable tools for checking the quality of tillage of the soil and on the traction power demand of and for quantifying the effects of soil amendments ploughing in the second and third years after the first and conditioners (Sinóros-Szabó & Szőllősi 1999; application in a field experiment. Tuba 2013; Tuba et al. 2020). The energy demand of soil cultivation is generally characterised by fuel MATERIAL AND METHODS consumption, though it is also possible to deter- mine the soil resistance against the actually used The experiment was carried out close to the vil- cultivation tool, which means the traction power or lage of Stretavka, Slovakia in 2017 and 2018. The pull force required to move the tractor (Al-Jalil et study area is located near the Eastern-Slovakian al. 2001; Forgács & Czimbalmos 2008; Md-Tahir Plain, on the flood plain of Uh, Latorica, and Čierna et al. 2021). The moisture content of the cultivated Voda rivers at the altitude of 102 m. The average soil layers must be considered as it is in negative groundwater level fluctuates between 1 and 1.5 m. correlation with the penetration resistance of heavy The coordinates of the experimental plots are textured soils (Campbell & O’Sullivan 1991). 48°36’47.4”N 21°58’38.3”E. The soils of the area Soil conditioning means the application of yield were formed on eolic Quaternary loess and river increasing and bio-stimulant materials that positive- sediments containing 50 ‒ 70% quartz, 15 ‒ 20% ly influencing the physical, chemical, and biological clay minerals and calcium-carbonate with sandy properties of the soil. Recently, the application of loam texture. bio-stimulants is extensive as they ensure better util- The experiment was set up in 2016, when the ap- isation of the yield potential of crops, consequent- plication of Neosol was started to establish its effect ly resulting in increased yields, higher quality, and on the soil and the yields of the crops grown there. stronger pest tolerance or even resistance (Kováč Our measurements were accomplished on two plots et al. 2017; Kocira et al. 2020a; 2020b; 2020c). In of the experiment, where conventional tillage based our study, Neosol (formerly called PRP-SOL) was applied, which is a concentrated, premium quali- on ploughing to the depth of 0.25 ‒ 0.28 m is ap- ty soil conditioner. Due to its substances originat- plied. The soil moisture, penetration resistance and th ing from sea algae and the MIP (Mineral Inducer traction power measurements were conducted on 9 th October 2017, while on 8 November 2018, when Process) technology, Neosol supplies the trace el- the soil status was optimal for ploughing. The size ements essential for the enzymatic activities of the of the Neosol treated plot is 10 ha, while the control soil microflora involved in mineral assimilation by plot is 11.9 ha (Figure 1). the plants. It enhances the biological activity of the soil, consequently increases soil fertility (I1). The 114 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 Soybean was grown in the investigated plots in 2016, Measurement of soil moisture content winter wheat in 2017, and spring barley in 2018, re- The soil moisture content (v/v%) was measured spectively. Neosol was applied parallel (in the same in the layers of 0 ‒ 0.1 m, 0.1 ‒ 0.2 m, and 0.2 ‒ 0.3 m operation) with fertilisation in the dose of 200 kg/ha in 3 repetitions by means of an “SMT 100” probe before sowing each year, then it was mixed into the (Umwelt-Geräte-Technik GmbH, Munich, Germa- upper soil layer (0 ‒ 0.1 m) when the seedbed was ny). The averages of the 4 repetitive measurements created. The main parameters of Neosol soil condi- were calculated and illustrated. The “SMT 100” tioner are summarized in Table 1. probe device is compact, robust but also elastic and durable, therefore versatilely applicable for the Figure 1. Satellite photo of the experimental plots taken in 2016. Note: 1 ‒ Control; 2 ‒ Neosol treated, the red lines show the tracks of the traction power measurements. 115 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113−123 in-situ measurements of the soil moisture content. values expressed in MPa calculated from the surface This device combines the advantages of a low-cost area of the cone and the detected force for each 0.01 frequency domain reflectometry (FDR) system with metre thick soil layer during the measurement. The the accuracy of a time domain reflectometry (TDR) data gained from the upper 0.05 m soil layer were system (I2), therefore we gained reliable data even not evaluated as they are not reliable due to the so in the heavy textured soil of the investigated plots. called ‘soil surface effect’. Measurement of penetration resistance Determination of traction power demand of The penetration resistance of the soil was mea- ploughing sured by means of a „3T System” (3T System Bt., A special device system was used to determine Hungary) electronic layer indicator (penetrometer) the traction power demand of ploughing. The system developed by Sinóros-Szabó and Szőllősi (1999) in consists of two load cells (force transducers) and a five replications in each treatment in the soil layer of measuring frame connected to a Hottinger Baldwin the basic cultivation (0 ‒ 30 cm). The penetrometer Messtechnik (Darmstadt, Germany) Spider-8 mo- detects the force needed to insert the probe ending bile digital data logger (Figure 2). The load cells in a 60° cone into the soil and records the resistance detect the force between the tractor and the plough T a b l e 1 Main parameters of Neosol CaO MgO pH Bulk density Na O K O N P O Particle size 2 2 2 5 27% 16% 7.2 1.2 g/cm 4.5% 0.7% 0.3% 0.03% <0.32 mm Source: Olmix Group (I1) Figure 2. Measurement of traction power demand of ploughing in Stretavka, 2018. 1 ‒ measurement frame; 2 ‒ load cell; 3 ‒ mouldboard of the plough. 116 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 − 123 and converts it into an electrical signal that can be during our measurements was 0.2 seconds. These detected by the data logger. The signals are trans- measurements were done in two replications on formed, recorded and displayed as real-time dynam- both plots. The data gained for the more compacted ic data by the „Catman 4.5 Release 3” software in ends of the plots, where the tractors turn back, were a connected computer. The frequency of records not considered during the data processing. The re- Figure 3. Soil profiles before and in the investigated years. Soil moisture content [v/v%] 0 5 10 15 20 25 0.0 - 0.1 0.1 - 0.2 0.2 - 0.3 Control Neosol Figure 4. Soil moisture contents in 2017 (averages of 4 repeated measurements with the standard deviations). Depth [m] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 cording of the data was started when the tractor pull- by means of the own software of the “3T System”, ing the plough reached the speed of 6 ‒ 7 km/h and while the “Catman 4.5 Release 3” software was stopped when slowed down at the end of the plot. used to process the traction force data. Further anal- Using this way, we gained and analysed two times yses and illustrations were done by using Microsoft 800 data for both plots, the averages of the two data Excel 2016 software. We used descriptive statistical series were illustrated. analyses and one-way analysis of variance for the The penetration resistance data were processed further evaluation of the soil moisture content, soil Soil moisture content [v/v%] 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 0.0 - 0.1 0.1 - 0.2 0.2 - 0.3 Control Neosol Figure 5. Soil moisture contents in 2018 (averages of 4 repeated measurements with the standard deviations). Control Neosol 0.1 0.2 0.3 Depth [m] Figure 6. Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration resistance in 2017. Penetration resistance [MPa] Depth [m] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 penetration resistance and traction power data, re- In the autumn of 2018, the soil of the experimen- spectively. tal plots was drier than the optimum at the date of the measurements. In the three investigated layers, the soil of the untreated plot was wetter, but the dif- RESULTS ferences were not considerable (Figure 5). Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration Development of the soil structure resistance Pits were dug in the plots of the experiment each Based on the penetration resistance results, we th th st year (5 July 2016; 17 May 2017; 1 June 2018) to found statistically different values for the treated study the soil profiles (Figure 3), but no extensive and the control plots (Control: 7.02 MPa, Neosol: data were quantified for describing the agronomic 5.38 MPa, LSD 5% = 0.23 MPa) in 2017. The soil of structure of the investigated soil. Nevertheless, al- the Neosol treated plot was more favourable in the though 2018 was a year with unfavourably dry veg- whole studied profile (0 ‒ 0.3 m) at the date of the etation period, which is indicated by the colour and measurements (Figure 6). The differences are larg- the compactness of the soil, the development of the er than it could be caused by the differences in the thickness of the soil layer with favourable agronomic actual soil moisture contents, therefore, we assume structure and the deepening root zone were visible a soil structure improving effect of soil conditioning and impressive. in that case. Soil moisture status At the date of the measurements in 2018, the soil At the date of the measurements in the autumn of of both investigated plots was compacted (Figure 7) 2017, the moisture status of the soil was favourable based on the penetration resistance data, though the in terms of soil cultivation. Comparing the Neosol treated soil was less compacted in the whole pro- treated and the untreated control plots (Figure 4), it file and showed increasing tendency with the depth. can be confirmed that the soil moisture content of The soil of the untreated control plot was unfavour- the upper 0.1 m layer was very similar, but in the ably compacted even in the upper (0.06 ‒ 0.2 m) lower layers, more moisture was preserved in the layer with an average value of 8.2 MPa). The low- soil of the plot treated with the soil conditioner. er 0.2 ‒ 0.3 m layer was extremely compacted, we Control Neosol 0.1 0.2 0.3 Depth [m] Figure 7. Effect of soil conditioning on the soil penetration resistance in 2018. Penetration resistance [MPa] Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 detected 10 MPa, which is the upper threshold of control plots in 2018 (Control: 8.64 MPa, Neosol: the measurement range of the device we used, there- 7.18 MPa, LSD 5% = 0.29 MPa). fore it can be possible that even higher values were Comparing the penetration resistance in the cul- characteristic to that layer that we were not able to tivated soil layer (0 ‒ 0.3 m) in the two investigated record. years, we found increasing values for both treat- Similarly to the previous year, we found a signif- ments, which is probably in close correlation with icant difference between the penetration resistance the soil moisture content differences. In both years, of the soils of the Neosol treated and the untreated the most frequent values (Mode) measured in the Figure 8. The soil penetration resistance data for 2017 and 2018. Control Neosol Number of measurements Figure 9. Effect of Neosol treatment on the average traction power demand of ploughing in 2017. Traction power demand [kN] 800 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 control plot were 10 MPa, which is the upper thresh- were within 1 v/v%, which cannot be considered a old of the measurement range of the penetrometer. treatment effect. In the case of the Neosol treatment, the majority We found the soil of the untreated control plot of the penetration resistance values were under the being more compacted in both years, its penetration Median (Figure 8). resistance values were 23.4% higher in 2017, while 17% higher in 2018 in comparison with the Neosol Effect of soil conditioning on the traction power de- treated plot, respectively. Comparing the two inves- mand tigated years, it could be concluded that the higher In 2017, the differences in the traction power de- soil moisture contents due to the more favourable mand of ploughing were similar to the differences weather conditions, lower penetration resistance in the soil penetration between the Neosol treated values were detected in 2017, contrary to the ex- and the untreated plots. 1600 data were considered tremely high values recorded for the dry season of and assessed for both plots (Figure 9). Due to the high measurement frequency, the data show a cer- The traction power demand of ploughing showed tain deviation for both plots, nevertheless the stan- higher values in the case of the untreated control dard deviation for the data measured in the soil of plot in both study years. The force needed to pull the Neosol treated plot was nearly 1 kN lower than of the nontreated control (Table 2). That means a more even traction power demand of ploughing T a b l e 2 on the treated plot, while wider data range, higher Descriptive statistics of the traction power demand (kN) maximum and lower minimum values with slightly data for 2017 larger standard error are characteristic to the untreat- ed control. The average traction power demand of Control Neosol ploughing is lower for the Neosol treated plot and Mean 35.12 32.52 significantly differs from the control at the confi- Standard error 0.12 0.10 dence level of 95% (LSD 5% = 0.18 kN). Deviation 4.76 3.89 In 2018, under compacted soil conditions, sig- Variance 22.66 15.12 nificantly less traction power demand was charac - teristic to pull the plough with five mouldboards in Minimum 16.91 17.46 the case of the plot treated with Neosol in compari- Maximum 48.03 43.07 son with the untreated control plot (Figure 10). Just Number of cases 1,600 1,600 like in 2017, 1600 data were processed for each plot Confidence (95.0%) 0.233 0.191 (Table 3). Higher traction power was needed to cul- tivate the control plot, the minimum and maximum values were higher with the standard deviation and T a b l e 3 error values nearly the same in comparison to the Descriptive statistics of the traction power demand (kN) treated plot. The averages values significantly dif- data for 2018 fered (LSD 5% = 0.16 kN). Control Neosol Mean 33.66 22.78 DISCUSSION Standard error 0.10 0.10 Deviation Analysing the soil moisture content data, we could 3.85 4.03 Variance figure out only a little difference in the 0.1 ‒ 0.3 m 14.82 16.21 layer between the variants when the soil moisture Minimum 24.80 15.21 contents were in the range of 14 ‒ 19 v/v% in 2017, Maximum 47.45 40.79 but we do not consider this difference as the effect Number of cases 1,600 1,600 of Neosol application. In 2018, all the soil moisture Confidence (95.0%) data were approximately 14 v/v%, the differences 0.19 0.20 121 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 67, 2021 (3): 113 −123 Control Neosol Number of measurements Figure 10. Effect of the Neosol on the average traction power demand in 2018 the plough by the tractor was not truly manifested CONCLUSIONS in the difference we figured out in the soil moisture contents between the two plots. The average traction Based on our experimental results, it can be con- power demand of ploughing was nearly the same cluded that the penetration resistance and traction on the control plot in both years, while the Neosol power values characterising and quantifying the treatment resulted in a considerable (30%) decrease compactness and cultivability of the soil were low- from one year to the other. Nevertheless, we sus- er hence more favourable on the plot treated with pect a long-term, cumulative effect behind that de- Neosol soil conditioner in both investigated years. crease (improvement), which was also justified in From the point of view of farmers, the main goal of other studies. Several researchers reported about the application of soil conditioners is to ensure better the significant correlation between the penetration growing conditions for the crops, hence to achieving resistance of the soil and the yields; soil resistance higher yield quantity and quality. Nevertheless, our above the optimal threshold results in yield depres- study pointed out that Neosol application resulted in sion and lower quality. A high degree of compact- a much lower traction power demand of ploughing ness in the deeper soil layers impedes water and nu- by the second year of the study even under unfa- trient movement, while the compacted topsoil has vourable (dry soil status) conditions. Based on this a negative effect on root development and aeration observation, we assume a cumulative positive effect in the soil (Neményi et al. 2006; Trusic et al. 2008; of soil conditioning on the physical soil properties Whalley et al. 2008). This improving effect was also in the study area, therefore the long-term application proven by Bajus (2020), who found a 12.7% higher of soil conditioners with identical features is recom- yield of winter wheat in 2017 and 4.9% extra yield mended for farms having similar soil properties. of summer barley in 2018 due to soil conditioning with Neosol in comparison with the untreated con- Acknowledgement: The research was financed trols, respectively. 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Journal

Agriculturede Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2021

Keywords: soil compaction; penetration resistance; traction power; soil conditioning

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