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Soil, land care and environmental research

Soil Research

Soil Research

Soil Research is an international journal for publishing research about fundamental and applied aspects of soil science. Read more about the journalMore

Editors-in-Chief: Balwant Singh and Mark Tibbett

Publishing Model: Hybrid. Open Access options available.

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These articles are the latest published in the journal. Soil Research has moved to a continuous publication model. More information is available on our Continuous Publication page.

Published online 16 February 2024

SR23112Proximal and remote sensing – what makes the best farm digital soil maps?

Patrick Filippi 0000-0003-3573-084X, Brett M. Whelan and Thomas F. A. Bishop 0000-0002-6723-7323

Creating maps at the farm-scale is a promising approach to for an accurate understanding of true spatial variation for a range of agronomically important soil attributes. This study assessed the value of different proximal and remote sensing datasets to map topsoil and subsoil carbon, clay content, and pH across three different farms in Australia. Results showed that using a combination of remote and proximal sensing data resulted in the best models, followed by remote only, and then proximal only.

Published online 13 February 2024

SR23164Effects of straw mulching, liming, and soil texture on ammonia volatilisation: a study of conventional and enhanced efficiency fertilisers

Bruno Maia Abdo Rahmen Cassim 0000-0003-3346-4007, Vitor Rodrigues Cordioli 0000-0001-8038-673X, Guilherme Frelo Chilante 0009-0006-4204-1910, Fabrício Linares Mazzi 0000-0002-4412-9629, Antonio Saraiva Muniz 0000-0003-0506-8584, Tadeu Takeyoshi Inoue 0000-0002-5143-6117 and Marcelo Augusto Batista 0000-0001-6233-192X

The use of no-till management practices is a key component to ensure food security and soil preservation. However, it may have disadvantages with respect to nitrogen use efficiency, including losses due to ammonia volatilisation. These losses trigger environmental, economic and human health problems. The study shows that under no-till, nitrogen losses can reach up to 62% with the use of urea. However, new nitrogen fertiliser technologies have reduced losses by more than 30% compared to urea, ensuring more sustainable agriculture.

There is growing interest in soil carbon as a climate mitigation strategy by the private and public sectors in Australia and globally. There is a scarcity of evidence in Australia for two of the key eligible management activities farmers can implement as part of the Australian soil carbon method for carbon sequestration. Farm-level data with credible evidence of soil carbon improvement at depth is lacking due to lack of long-term studies and shallow soil sampling.

Published online 08 February 2024

SR23138Estimating surrogates, utility graphs and indicator sets for soil capacity and security assessments using legacy data

Wartini Ng 0000-0002-5053-6917, Sandra J. Evangelista, José Padarian, Julio Pachon, Tom O’Donoghue, Peipei Xue, Nicolas Francos and Alex B. McBratney

Legacy datasets enable a preliminary study for soil security assessment to inform future research questions. In this study, we identified potential surrogates and the use of potential indicators for the assessment of soil to support a certain role. This work is important and enables the use of potential indicators when the surrogate is not available or difficult to obtain.

Published online 02 February 2024

SR23096Estimating the attainable soil organic carbon deficit in the soil fine fraction to inform feasible storage targets and de-risk carbon farming decisions

Senani Karunaratne 0000-0002-9278-7941, Christina Asanopoulos 0000-0002-5612-5510, Huidong Jin, Jeff Baldock 0000-0002-6428-8555, Ross Searle, Ben Macdonald 0000-0001-8105-0779 and Lynne M. Macdonald

We argue that the term ‘potential’ soil organic carbon (SOC) storage is not quantifiable using historical and current empirical data. We propose a framework that defines an upper limit of ‘attainable’ SOC that varies with soil properties, environmental conditions and applied management practices. We conclude that continuous update of the derived attainable deficit values will be required when new datasets covering different or new management practices capable of improving the capture of carbon to soil become available.

Published online 25 January 2024

SR23198Mechanisms driving spatial and temporal changes in soil organic carbon stocks in saline soils in a typical county of the western Songnen Plain, northeast China

Bing Liang 0000-0002-7588-3114, Jianbing Wei 0000-0001-6377-3420, Haiqin Zhao, Shangyu Wu, Yongxia Hou and Susu Zhang

The main contribution of this paper lies in exploring the driving mechanisms of changes in soil organic carbon storage over a 40-year period, based on the spatiotemporal distribution of soil organic carbon density, using random forest and structural equation models. This contribution holds significant theoretical and practical implications, providing a scientific basis for the improvement of saline-alkali soils and the development of carbon sequestration potential.

Published online 19 January 2024

SR22246Soybean and corn yield as affected by crop rotation and surface liming under a no-tillage system

Sandra Mara Vieira Fontoura, Albert Matheus Melinski, Antônio Carlos Vargas Motta 0000-0001-9117-1881, Lenir Fátima Gotz 0000-0001-6145-4717, Eloá Moura Araujo 0000-0002-7096-6666, Stephen A. Prior and Volnei Pauletti 0000-0002-9231-7851

In no-tillage systems, surficial liming may induce an alkalinisation front that can be affected by lime rate, time after application, and rotation crops. Different winter plant species did not interfere with soybean and corn yield, lime effects in deeper layers, or liming need. The surficial liming was efficient in maintaining the acidity in the topper and deeper soil layers (up to 60 cm) in a soil with high buffering power, without reducing the grain yield.

Published online 11 January 2024

SR23029Atterberg limits of baseball infield soils containing over-size particles, Part I: effect of particle size

Evan Christopher Mascitti 0000-0002-0143-6100, Andrew Scott McNitt 0000-0001-6840-1693 and Patrick J. Drohan 0000-0003-3103-7108

Baseball infield soils should be tested to determine how soil water content influences their physical properties. Current test methods are not applicable to these soils, but by modifying the protocol to permit coarser sand, more accurate results can be obtained. This research will give baseball field managers and scientists more accurate data about the performance of baseball infield playing surfaces.

Published online 08 January 2024

SR23128Fertilisation with P, N and S requires additional Zn for healthy plantation tree growth on low fertility savanna soils

Stan J. Rance, David M. Cameron, Emlyn R. Williams and Carl R. Gosper 0000-0002-0962-5117

Soil nutrient limitations characterise savanna soils and are one constraint on establishing productive tree plantations and enhancing economic opportunities in tropical regions. We found positive tree growth responses to phosphorus, nitrogen and sulfur fertilisation, yet unhealthy trees developed in which zinc limitation and small-scale variation in soil characteristics was confirmed. Nutrient additions to enhance tree growth will need to encompass trace elements in addition to phosphorus, nitrogen and sulfur, and consider small-scale variability in cation exchange capacity and composition.

Published online 19 December 2023

SR23136Nitrogen and phosphorus leaching losses under cropping and zone-specific variable-rate irrigation

John J. Drewry 0000-0002-8781-2604, Carolyn B. Hedley 0000-0002-6998-0997, Stephen J. McNeill, Ahmed G. El-Naggar 0000-0003-3487-5326, Kishor K. Karakkattu and David J. Horne

Irrigation and farming practices can increase nutrient leaching losses, which affects water quality. Under zone-specific management of variable rate irrigation and mixed cropping, over 5 years, drainage flux meters worked well for the well-drained sandy loam; nutrient concentrations and leaching loads generally had greater uncertainty in the poorly drained silt loam. Drainage flux meters are more reliable in the sandy loam than the silt loam.

Published online 18 December 2023

SR23173Salt dynamics, leaching requirements, and leaching fractions during irrigation of a halophyte with different saline waters

Mansoor Al-Tamimi, Steve Green, Wasel Abou Dahr, Ahmed Al-Muaini, Dionysia Lyra, Khalil Ammar, Mohamed Dawoud, Paul Kenyon, Peter Kemp, Lesley Kennedy and Brent Clothier 0000-0003-1901-0324

Soil and groundwater around the world are salt affected. Saline water can be used effectively for irrigation by salt leaching to despatch the accumulated salts back to groundwater. We examine the rootzone efficiency and groundwater impacts of salt leaching to remove salts from the rootzone.

Published online 12 December 2023

SR22260Response to soil compaction of the electrical resistivity tomography, induced polarisation, and electromagnetic induction methods: a case study in Belgium

Danial Mansourian 0000-0003-1503-6199, Adriaan Vanderhasselt, Wim Cornelis and Thomas Hermans

Soil compaction was studied in this research using three different geophysical tools. We created a controlled traffic farm in Belgium that contains different zones of soil compaction and used geo-electrical methods to find out whether soil compaction can be accurately estimated using geophysics. Laboratory data were also assessed complementary to the geophysical data. We found resistivity variations and realised that soil compaction does indeed affect geophysical signals, yet a straightforward relationship is yet to be found.

Published online 12 December 2023

SR23014Prioritising interventions for the reduction of erosion in classical gullies: a modelling study

Matthew J. Prentice 0000-0001-5563-2046, Mark W. Waud 0000-0001-8715-6224, Samille C. Loch-Wilkinson 0000-0001-9064-0893, David P. Hamilton 0000-0002-9341-8777 and Melanie E. Roberts 0000-0003-4027-9651

The erosion of gullies degrades the local landscape and contributes to poor water quality in receiving bodies. Consequently, considerable effort is invested to rehabilitate gullies and prevent erosion. This study investigates the use of the MERGE gully erosion model to test different rehabilitation options to help land managers determine what the best combination of actions will be at different sites. This study considers three different gullies, demonstrating that different actions will work better at different sites.

Published online 27 November 2023

SR23070Revised emission factors for estimating direct nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen inputs in Australia’s agricultural production systems: a meta-analysis

Peter Grace 0000-0003-4136-4129, Daniele De Rosa 0000-0002-0441-7722, Iurii Shcherbak, Alice Strazzabosco 0000-0002-6667-5188, David Rowlings 0000-0002-1618-9309, Clemens Scheer 0000-0001-5396-2076, Louise Barton 0000-0001-7187-4168, Weijin Wang, Graeme Schwenke 0000-0002-2206-4350, Roger Armstrong 0000-0002-4728-9935, Ian Porter and Michael Bell

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture contribute 15% of the official national account. Nitrous oxide is a major greenhouse gas and is primarily emitted from soils. With a Global Warming Potential nearly 300 times that of carbon dioxide, it has major impact on climate change. Nitrogen applications in the form of fertilisers, crop residues, urine and dung are the primary contributors to these emissions. The study assembled nitrous oxide emissions data from Australian agriculture that has been collected over the past 2 decades to provide accurate emission factors for the national account.

Olive tree cultivation is an important activity in the Mediterranean basin. Olive mill waste waters (OMWW) constitute a serious environmental problem. Current Tunisian legislation encourages OMWW spreading on soil for increasing the crop yields and preventing the potential detrimental effects on the environment. Our study showed that OMWW application to the soil in an olive orchard at 50 m3 ha−1, since 2004, had no negative effects on the tree’s vegetative growth and satisfied plant with P, K and N requirement.

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Best Student-Led Paper

The Best Student-Led Paper published in 2022 has been awarded to Rima Hadjouti.