Conservation Agriculture Provides Greater Resilience to Soil Microorganisms
from Perturbation Caused by Pendimethalin Herbicide
Bhawna Babal*, Ved K Phogat and Manoj K Sharma
Department of Soil Science, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India
*Corresponding Author:Bhawna Babal, Department of Soil Science, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India.
March 04, 2022; Published: March 21, 2022
Assessment of soil microorganisms under different management practices helps in developing more productive and sustainable agricultural systems. Conservation agriculture (CA) systems are considered vital for soil health, biodiversity and environmental quality but the inevitable repetitive use of herbicides in these systems may have certain negative impacts including phyto-toxocity, carry-over effects on succeeding crops besides contamination of water resources, and hence poses threat to ecosystem. The literature on consequence of herbicides on soil microorganisms is quite controversial, and largely based either on laboratory or short-term field experiments. Therefore, we assessed the impact of pendimethalin herbicide on the population of bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes under CA system in practice for the last 13 years in comparison to conventional system involving intensive tillage in an alluvial sandy loam soil (Typic Haplustept). The experiment included two cropping systems (mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) - wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) - wheat) and three tillage practices, i.e., zero tillage with retention of crop residues in both summer and winter seasons (ZT-ZT), conventional tillage in summer and zero tillage with residue retention in winter (CT-ZT) and conventional tillage in both seasons (CT-CT). In contrast to extensively tillage based conventional, the CA system maintained significantly higher population of microorganisms in the soil at different depths. Bacteria were observed sensitive while fungi and actinomycetes moderate tolerance to pendimethalin but the growth of actinomycetes was quite fast towards the harvest of crops. The ZT-ZT practice increased the population of bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes by 44.5, 46.2 and 33.0%, respectively, over CT-CT practice, but the cropping systems did not influence the population. The study indicated that the CA system provided greater resilience to soil microorganisms from perturbation caused by pendimethalin as compared to the intensively tillage-based conventional system of farming.
Keywords: Conservation Agriculture; Zero Tillage; Pendimethalin; Herbicide; Soil Microorganisms; Cropping Systems
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