Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating

L Mueller, G Shepherd, U Schindler, BC Ball, LJ Munkholm, V Hennings, E Smolentseva, O Rukhovic, S Lukin, C Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil structure is an important aspect of agricultural soil quality, and its preservation and improvement are key to sustaining soil functions. Methods of overall soil quality assessment which include visual soil structure information can be useful tools for monitoring and managing the global soil resource. The aim of the paper is: (i) to demonstrate the role of visual quantification of soil structure within the procedure of the overall soil quality assessment by the Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (M-SQR), (ii) to quantify the magnitude and variability of soil structure and overall M-SQR on a number of agricultural research sites and (iii) to analyse the correlations of soil quality rating results with crop yields. We analysed visual soil structure and overall soil quality on a range of 20 experimental sites in seven countries. To assess visual soil structure we utilised the Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) and Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) methods. Results showed the feasibility and reliability of both VSA and VESS methods and the overall soil quality M-SQR rating approach to give scores and classes which characterised the soil potential for cropping. The structure status of soil can be reliably assessed by these procedures. In soils with clay contents > 30% unfavourable soil structure could not be reliably recognised by measurements of the dry bulk density, but significantly by evaluation of visual soil structure. Structure scores were clearly associated with the drainage status of soil. More than 70% of the variability of crop yields at a given intensity of input may be explained by the overall M-SQR-score which includes information on soil texture, relief and climate in addition to soil structure. We conclude that methods of visual soil assessment are useful diagnostic tools for monitoring and controlling agricultural soil quality over different scales, ranging from within-fields to global. Controlling the drainage status of land and action of machinery at appropriate drainage states are pre-conditions for preserving a suitable soil structure. 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74 - 84
Number of pages11
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 2013

Fingerprint

soil structure
soil quality
drainage
soil
agricultural soils
agricultural soil
crop yield
evaluation
monitoring
soil resources
dry density
methodology
bulk density
cropping practice
relief
clay
climate
method

Bibliographical note

1023321

Keywords

  • Agricultural land
  • Crop yield potential
  • Drainage
  • Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating
  • Soil structure

Cite this

Mueller, L., Shepherd, G., Schindler, U., Ball, BC., Munkholm, LJ., Hennings, V., ... Hu, C. (2013). Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating. Soil and Tillage Research, 127, 74 - 84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2012.03.002
Mueller, L ; Shepherd, G ; Schindler, U ; Ball, BC ; Munkholm, LJ ; Hennings, V ; Smolentseva, E ; Rukhovic, O ; Lukin, S ; Hu, C. / Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating. In: Soil and Tillage Research. 2013 ; Vol. 127. pp. 74 - 84.
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Mueller, L, Shepherd, G, Schindler, U, Ball, BC, Munkholm, LJ, Hennings, V, Smolentseva, E, Rukhovic, O, Lukin, S & Hu, C 2013, 'Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating', Soil and Tillage Research, vol. 127, pp. 74 - 84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2012.03.002

Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating. / Mueller, L; Shepherd, G; Schindler, U; Ball, BC; Munkholm, LJ; Hennings, V; Smolentseva, E; Rukhovic, O; Lukin, S; Hu, C.

In: Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 127, 2013, p. 74 - 84.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating

AU - Mueller, L

AU - Shepherd, G

AU - Schindler, U

AU - Ball, BC

AU - Munkholm, LJ

AU - Hennings, V

AU - Smolentseva, E

AU - Rukhovic, O

AU - Lukin, S

AU - Hu, C

N1 - 1023321

PY - 2013

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N2 - Soil structure is an important aspect of agricultural soil quality, and its preservation and improvement are key to sustaining soil functions. Methods of overall soil quality assessment which include visual soil structure information can be useful tools for monitoring and managing the global soil resource. The aim of the paper is: (i) to demonstrate the role of visual quantification of soil structure within the procedure of the overall soil quality assessment by the Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (M-SQR), (ii) to quantify the magnitude and variability of soil structure and overall M-SQR on a number of agricultural research sites and (iii) to analyse the correlations of soil quality rating results with crop yields. We analysed visual soil structure and overall soil quality on a range of 20 experimental sites in seven countries. To assess visual soil structure we utilised the Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) and Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) methods. Results showed the feasibility and reliability of both VSA and VESS methods and the overall soil quality M-SQR rating approach to give scores and classes which characterised the soil potential for cropping. The structure status of soil can be reliably assessed by these procedures. In soils with clay contents > 30% unfavourable soil structure could not be reliably recognised by measurements of the dry bulk density, but significantly by evaluation of visual soil structure. Structure scores were clearly associated with the drainage status of soil. More than 70% of the variability of crop yields at a given intensity of input may be explained by the overall M-SQR-score which includes information on soil texture, relief and climate in addition to soil structure. We conclude that methods of visual soil assessment are useful diagnostic tools for monitoring and controlling agricultural soil quality over different scales, ranging from within-fields to global. Controlling the drainage status of land and action of machinery at appropriate drainage states are pre-conditions for preserving a suitable soil structure. 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - Soil structure is an important aspect of agricultural soil quality, and its preservation and improvement are key to sustaining soil functions. Methods of overall soil quality assessment which include visual soil structure information can be useful tools for monitoring and managing the global soil resource. The aim of the paper is: (i) to demonstrate the role of visual quantification of soil structure within the procedure of the overall soil quality assessment by the Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (M-SQR), (ii) to quantify the magnitude and variability of soil structure and overall M-SQR on a number of agricultural research sites and (iii) to analyse the correlations of soil quality rating results with crop yields. We analysed visual soil structure and overall soil quality on a range of 20 experimental sites in seven countries. To assess visual soil structure we utilised the Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) and Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) methods. Results showed the feasibility and reliability of both VSA and VESS methods and the overall soil quality M-SQR rating approach to give scores and classes which characterised the soil potential for cropping. The structure status of soil can be reliably assessed by these procedures. In soils with clay contents > 30% unfavourable soil structure could not be reliably recognised by measurements of the dry bulk density, but significantly by evaluation of visual soil structure. Structure scores were clearly associated with the drainage status of soil. More than 70% of the variability of crop yields at a given intensity of input may be explained by the overall M-SQR-score which includes information on soil texture, relief and climate in addition to soil structure. We conclude that methods of visual soil assessment are useful diagnostic tools for monitoring and controlling agricultural soil quality over different scales, ranging from within-fields to global. Controlling the drainage status of land and action of machinery at appropriate drainage states are pre-conditions for preserving a suitable soil structure. 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - Agricultural land

KW - Crop yield potential

KW - Drainage

KW - Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating

KW - Soil structure

U2 - 10.1016/j.still.2012.03.002

DO - 10.1016/j.still.2012.03.002

M3 - Article

VL - 127

SP - 74

EP - 84

JO - Soil and Tillage Research

JF - Soil and Tillage Research

SN - 0167-1987

ER -

Mueller L, Shepherd G, Schindler U, Ball BC, Munkholm LJ, Hennings V et al. Evaluation of soil structure in the framework of an overall soil quality rating. Soil and Tillage Research. 2013;127:74 - 84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2012.03.002