Hydraulic Conductivity to Evaluate the SAT Vertisols for Deep-Rooted Crops

  • D. K. Pal


Recent attempts to identify bio-physical factors that limit the yield of deep-rooted crops (cotton) in non-gypsic and non-zeolitic SAT Vertisols in the Vidarbha region in central India indicate that the retention and release of soil water are governed by the nature and content of clay minerals, and also by the nature of the exchangeable cations. The available water content (AWC) is not available during the growth of crops. In fact, moisture remains at 100 kPa for non-sodic Vertisols with ESP < 5 after the cessation of rains while it is held at 300 kPa for sodic Vertisols with ESP > 5 but <15. This unfavourable AWC is created because the movement of water is governed by saturated hydraulic conductivity (sHC), which decreases rapidly with depth, and the decrease is sharper in sodic Vertisols even with ESP > 5. Drastic reduction in sHC in the subsoils is due to the formation of pedogenic calcium carbonate (PC) with the concomitant increase of ESP with pedon depth. A significant positive correlation between the yield of cotton and carbonate clay indicates that, like ESP, PC formation also causes a yield reduction. The strong pedogenic relationship does exist among SAT environments, PC formation, exchangeable Ca/Mg, ESP and sHC, which ultimately make SAT Vertisols poorly drained. Under rain-fed conditions, the yield of deep-rooted crops on Vertisols depends primarily on the amount of rain stored in the subsoils and the extent to which this soil water is released between the rains during crop growth. In view of this, the evaluation of SAT Vertisols for deep-rooted crops based on sHC alone may help in their planning and management in the Indian SAT areas and also under similar climatic conditions elsewhere.


SAT Vertisols Saturated hydraulic conductivity Evaluation for deep rooted crops 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. K. Pal
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR-NBSS&LUPNagpurIndia

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