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Soil attributes and productivity in areas with different cover plants and soybean cultivation in sugarcane field

Grant number: 23/04744-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2023
Effective date (End): July 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agricultural Engineering - Soil and Water Engineering
Principal Investigator:Zigomar Menezes de Souza
Grantee:Rebeka Priscila Goncalves
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Agrícola (FEAGRI). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Mechanization in Brazilian's sugarcane plantations is intensified annually due to labor shortages and reflections of environmental legislation. However, the utilization of agricultural machinery causes reduction in soil quality, decreasing fertility, increasing compaction and lower productivity in Brazilian's mills. A great strategy for this situation are the cover crops, which provide soil protection avoiding degradation, greater biological activity, great aggregation, good porosity, ideal density and high level of soil's saturated hydraulic conductivity. Therefore, this project aims to analyze soil quality and its interference in the productivity of sugarcane variety CTC 9002 through the analysis of physical attributes and soil organic carbon content compared with areas with different management of sugarcane plants coverage and planting of soybeans in the sugarcane field. The experiment will be carried out in a sugarcane area in Itapagipe, Minas Gerais. The experimental area is a 20 ha cane field, which was used as pasture for over 30 years. The experimental is designed as randomized blocks with four treatments and four replications, totaling sixteen experimental plots. The treatments are: Treatment 1 - Soil preparation in 2020 and soybean planting (variety cz37b43) during 2 different summers (2020 and 2021) preceding the planting of sugarcane (variety CTC 9002); Treatment 2 - Soil preparation and planting of soybeans in 2020 (variety cz37b43), grain sorghum in 2021 (variety 1G100) prior to planting sugarcane (variety CTC 9002); Treatment 3 - Soil preparation in 2021 and planting of soybeans in October 2021 (variety cz37b43) prior to planting sugarcane (variety CTC 9002); Treatment 4 - Soil preparation in 2021 and Crotalaria ocroleuca planting in October 2021 prior to planting sugarcane (CTC 9002 variety). At the end of the first sugarcane cultivation cycle (cane plant) soil sampling will be carried out in the layers of 0.00-0.10, 0.10-0.20, 0.20-0.40, 0.40-0.60 and 0.60-1.00 m to determine the changes in the physical attributes and organic carbon content of the soil due to the different management systems. Physical attributes such as soil density and porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, soil resistance to penetration and soil organic carbon content and sugarcane productivity will be analyzed. Hopefully this experiment will obtain results that contribute with the research of benefits in soil quality with soybeans planting rotations and different cover crops in sugarcane fields related to sugarcane productivity.

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