Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Short-term effects of loosening and incorporation of straw slurry into the upper subsoil on soil physical properties and crop yield

Getahun, Gizachew Tarekegn; Katterer, Thomas; Munkholm, Lars Juhl; Parvage, Mohammed Masud; Keller, Thomas; Rychel, Katrin; Kirchmann, Holger


Subsoils that are compacted, nutrient-poor or low in soil organic matter (SOM) often limit crop growth and yield. Improvement of subsoil conditions by deep loosening is laborious and expensive and its positive effect may not last. This study investigated the effect of deep loosening and injection of slurry made from cereal straw (30 Mg dry mass ha(-1)) at 25-34 cm depth on soil properties and crop performance in a Swedish field experiment that started in autumn 2015 and monitored soil and crop properties during 2016. Loosening + straw incorporation into subsoil resulted in significantly higher soil organic carbon (SOC) content, potential plant-available water and porosity and lower bulk density (BD) in spring 2016 compared with the control. In autumn 2016, penetrometer resistance (PR) and BD were both significantly lower and SOC and porosity were significantly higher in the loosening + straw treatment compared with the control and loosening only (29-34 cm). Furthermore, BD was significantly lower in the loosening + straw treated subsoil than in the top soil layer of the control (0-10 cm). Observations indicated that more continuous pores were found in the loosening + straw treatment than in other treatments. Roots and soil faunas were found more frequently where straw was incorporated. Grain yield increased by 5.6% due to loosening + straw addition (P = 0.03) and by 4% due to loosening only (P = 0.06). These results indicate that loosening + straw input into upper subsoil had a positive short-term influence on soil physical properties, potential plant-available water and grain yield. Straw addition prolonged the positive effect of loosening.


Subsoil; Loosening plus straw slurry; Bulk density; Compaction; Crop performance; Grain yield

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2018, Volume: 184, pages: 62-67