Evaluation of the effects of an orange-oil based soil ameliorant on soil water management

Wright, Nordely (2013-03)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Soil amelioration and conditioning is desirable and in many cases essential, due to increasing food demand and the deterioration and exhaustion of soils. A new soil ameliorant, consisting of orange oil as a base and a mixture of surfactants, is on the global agricultural market. Use of this soil ameliorant by farmers has made an impact on crop production and plant growth on many farms. The effects of this soil ameliorant on selected soil properties as well as plant traits were evaluated by a field trial, a pot trial and a Water Characteristic Curve experiment. A field trial was performed in the Firgrove area near Somerset West, Western Cape (South Africa). It entailed the evaluation of the water content and lateral movement of water in a sandy soil after the application of the soil ameliorant. The field was already planted with Capsicum annuum crop at the initiation of the trial. The trial was performed in a drip irrigated field by taking soil water measurements using a Diviner 2000 probe over a nine week period. The trial showed significant increases in water content on the plots treated with the soil ameliorant. These increases are indicative of an increase in the lateral movement of the soil water, as the measurements were taken between two drippers. On average, the ameliorant treated soil had 17% higher water content than that of the control. A Water Characteristic Curve (WCC) experiment was conducted, which entailed establishing the WCC for a sandy soil treated with the soil ameliorant. The Sandbox apparatus, from Eijkelkamp Agrisearch Equipment, was used to perform the experiment and provides suction values of 0.1 to 10.1 KPa. The WCC showed that the ameliorant application increased water retention over all suctions, especially for the 10 l/ha ameliorant application. This substantiated the Field trial where water retention was increase in a sandy soil. A pot trial was performed in a greenhouse to evaluate the effect of the soil ameliorant on selected soil properties and certain plant traits. This experiment consisted of an ameliorant treatment and a control with a combination of four different Plant Available Water Depletion (PAWD) regimes namely, 10% depletion, 50% depletion, 80% depletion and 50%C depletion, where “C” refers to covered. The trial layout, with five single pot replicates per treatment combination, was according to a randomized block design. The surface covering of one of the 50% PAWDs was a plastic sheet which to prevent evaporation from the soil surface. The ameliorant treatment resulted in significant improvements in overall plant growth, total biomass production, especially dry root biomass. Leaf Area Index and plant height were also improved. The Biomass Water Use Efficiency was improved with the ameliorant application, especially for the 50%C PAWD illustrating the beneficial use of a mulch. Bulk density was decreased with application of the ameliorant but this difference was not statistically significant. Aggregate stability for the moist soils (10% and 50%C PAWD) was significantly improved with the ameliorant application. The application of this soil ameliorant made significant improvements in various facets of plant growth and certain soil physical properties. Especially water holding capacity in sandy soils and the overall improvement in plant growth. There is still much opportunity for research in this field and many questions remain, especially those pertaining to the mechanisms involved in the workings of a soil ameliorant containing a mixture of ingredients.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die bestuur van besproeingswater en die optimisasie van gewasproduksie is `n studieveld wat baie aandag verg, aangesien varswater bronne bedreig word. As gevolg van die stygende vraag na voedsel en die agteruitgang en uitputting van die grond, is grondverbetering en-kondisionering aanbeveelbaar en in sommige gevalle noodsaaklik. `n Nuwe grond verbeteraar, bestaande uit lemoen olie as `n basis en ‘n mengsel van benattingsmiddels, is beskikbaar op die wêreld landbou mark. Die gebruik van die grondverbeteraar deur boere het ‘n impak gemaak op gewasproduksie en plantegroei op baie plase. Die effek van die grondverbeteraar op geselekteerde grond-eienskappe sowel as plantkenmerke is geevalueer deur ‘n veld proef, ‘n pot proef en ‘n Water Karakeristieke Kurwe eksperiment. `n Veldproef is uitgevoer in die Firgrove omgewing naby Somerset Wes in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie, Suid Afrika. Die veldproef het die evaluasie van die grondwater inhoud en die laterale beweging van water in `n sanderige grond behels. Die gewas Capsicum annuum was alreeds in die veld aangeplant voor die begin van die proef. Die proef was uitgevoer in `n drup besproeide veld deur grondwater metings wat geneem is met `n Diviner 2000 peilstif oor `n periode van nege weke. Die proewe het `n beduidende verhoging in die groundwater-inhoud getoon waar die grond met die grondverbeteraar behandel is. Die verhogings was `n aanduiding van `n toename in die laterale vloei van grond water, aangesien die lesings tussen twee druppers geneem is. Die grond, wat met die grondverbeteraar behandel is, het gemiddeld 17% hoёr groundwater-inhoud gehad as die kontrole. `n Water Karakteristieke Kurwe (WKK) eksperiment is uitgevoer, wat bestaan het uit die opstel van die WKK vir `n sanderige grond behandel met die grondverbeteraar. Die “Sandbox” apparaat van Eijkelkamp, Agrisearch Equipment is gebruik wat negatiewe druk waardes van 0.1 tot 10.1 KPa toon. Die WKK het getoon dat die toediening van die grondverbeteraar die water retensie verhoog het oor al die drukke, veral in die 10 l/ha toediening. Dit staaf die resultate van die Veld eksperiment waar water retensie verhoog is in die sanderige grond. Die pot-eksperiment is uitgevoer in `n tonnel om die effek van die grondverbeteraar op geselekteerde grond eienskappe en verskeie plant eienskappe te evalueer. Die eksperiment het bestaan uit ‘n grondverbeteraar behandeling en ‘n kontrole met ‘n kombinasie van vier verskillende plantbeskikbare wateronttrekkings naamlik, 10%, 50%, 80% onttrekking, en ‘n 50%C onttrekking, waar “C” verwys na “covered”. Die proef uiteensetting, met vyf enkel pot herhalings per behandeling kombinasie was volgens ‘n ewekansig blok uitleg. Die oppervlakte dekking van 50%C plantbeskikbare waterottrekking was `n 60 μm plastiek-vel wat verdamping vanaf die grondoppervlak verhoed het. Die grondverbeteraar behandeling het `n beduidende verbetering in algehele plantgroei, totale biomassa produksie en spesifiek droё wortel biomassa getoon. Die blaararea indeks en planthoogte het ook `n verbetering getoon. Die biomassa-watergebruiksdoeltreffendheid het verbeter met die toediening van die grondverbeteraar, spesifiek vir die 50%C plantbeskikbarewaterottrekking wat die voordele van die gebruik van oppervlakdekking illustreer. Die brutodigtheid is verminder deur die toediening van die grondverbeteraar, maar die verskil was statisties nie wesenlik nie. Agregaat-stabiliteit vir die grond met `n hoёr vogregime (10% en 50%C plantbeskikbare waterottrekking) is wesenlik verbeter met die toediening van die grondverbeteraar. Die toediening van die grondverbeteraar het wesenlike verbeteringe in verskeie plantegroei- en grondfisiese-eienskappe getoon. Spesifiek laterale beweging in sanderige grond en die verbettering van algehele plantegroei. Daar is nog baie geleenthede vir navorsing in die veld en baie vrae bly onbeantwoord, veral in verband met die meganismes met bretrekking tot die werking van die grondverbeteraar wat uit `n mengsel van bestandele bestaan.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79838
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