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Open AccessArticle

Nutrient and Stoichiometric Characteristics of Aggregates in a Sloping Farmland Area under Different Tillage Practices

1
College of Forestry, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, China
2
Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Prevention, Jiangxi Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Nanchang 330029, China
3
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020890
Received: 9 December 2020 / Revised: 12 January 2021 / Accepted: 13 January 2021 / Published: 17 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tropical Crop Science and Agriculture Management)
Sloping farmland is prevalent in hilly red soil areas of South China. Improper tillage patterns induce decreased soil organic matter, soil aggregate breakdown, and nutrient imbalance, thereby restricting crop production. However, the stoichiometric characteristics could reflect the nutrient availability which was mostly studied on bulk soil. The stoichiometric characteristics of soil aggregates with multiple functions in farmlands has rarely been studied. The study was to reveal the impact of tillage patterns on the size distribution, nutrient levels, and stoichiometric ratios of soil aggregates after 20 years’ cultivation. Soil samples of 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm from five tillage patterns, bare-land control (BL), longitudinal-ridge tillage (LR), conventional tillage + straw mulching (CS), cross-ridge tillage (CR), and longitudinal-ridge tillage + hedgerows (LH) were collected. The elemental content (C, N and P) and soil aggregate size distribution were determined, and the stoichiometric ratios were subsequently calculated. Through our analysis and study, it was found that the nutrient content of >2 mm soil aggregates in all plots was the highest. In the hedgerow plots, >2 mm water-stable soil aggregate content was increased. Therefore, LH plots have the highest content of organic matter and nutrients. After 20 years of cultivation, stoichiometric ratio of each plot showed different changes on soil aggregates at different levels. the C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios are lower than the national average of cultivated land. Among of them, the stoichiometric ratio in the LH plot is closer to the mean and showed better water-stable aggregate enhancement. Therefore, longitudinal-ridge tillage + hedgerows can be recommended as a cultivation measure. This study provides a reference for determining appropriate tillage measures, balancing nutrient ratios, and implementing rational fertilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: sloping farmland; soil aggregates; particle size; stoichiometric ratios; 20 years sloping farmland; soil aggregates; particle size; stoichiometric ratios; 20 years
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, J.; Liu, Y.; Zheng, T.; Zhao, X.; Liu, H.; Zhang, Y. Nutrient and Stoichiometric Characteristics of Aggregates in a Sloping Farmland Area under Different Tillage Practices. Sustainability 2021, 13, 890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020890

AMA Style

Zhang J, Liu Y, Zheng T, Zhao X, Liu H, Zhang Y. Nutrient and Stoichiometric Characteristics of Aggregates in a Sloping Farmland Area under Different Tillage Practices. Sustainability. 2021; 13(2):890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020890

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Jie; Liu, Yaojun; Zheng, Taihui; Zhao, Xiaomin; Liu, Hongguang; Zhang, Yongfen. 2021. "Nutrient and Stoichiometric Characteristics of Aggregates in a Sloping Farmland Area under Different Tillage Practices" Sustainability 13, no. 2: 890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020890

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