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Different tillage and residue management practices affect soil biological activities and microbial culturable diversity in rice-wheat cropping system under reclaimed sodic soils
 
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1
ICAR–Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal 132 001, Haryana, India
 
2
ICAR–Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal 462 038, Madhya Pradesh, India
 
These authors had equal contribution to this work
 
 
Corresponding author
Ram Kishor Fagodiya   

ICAR–Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal 132 001, Haryana, India
 
 
 
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ABSTRACT
Agricultural management practices alter soil characteristics and influence soil biological properties. Hence, a field trial was carried out to assess the 14-year long-term impact of tillage and residue management practices on soil biological activities and microbial population in a rice-wheat cropping system in two depths viz., 0-15 and 15-30 cm. Soil organic carbon levels differed significantly (p> 0.05) across various treatments. Microbial biomass carbon, Microbial quotient, and soil enzymatic activities were significantly greater (10-82%) in crop residue incorporation/retention treatments. Zero tillage with residue retention (ZT+R) had the greatest bacterial, actinomycetes, and fungi population, next to zero tillage with residue incorporation (RT+R). The ZT+R treatment had the greatest value of K-strategist and r-strategist, and was equivalent to RT+R across both soil depths. When compared to Conventional tillage (CT), zero tillage (ZT) increased wheat yield by 9%. However, compared to CT, rice and rice-wheat systems had lower grain yields, whereas crop residue increased wheat and rice-wheat system yields by 10% and 6%, respectively. The findings of this long-term study show that residue management and tillage practices can enhance soil biological attributes while also supporting microbial diversity.
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