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Soil properties, yield, and landscape relationships in south-central Saskatchewan Canada

Noorbakhsh, S., J. Schoenau, B. Si, T. Zeleke and P. Qian. 2008. Journal of Plant Nutrition 31:539-556


Soil water and nutrient availability are major limiting factors for crop production in the Canadian prairies. Most variations in soil properties observed across prairie farm fields are the result of the effect of landscape on water and soil redistribution. The relationships among soil chemical properties (pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter, and available nutrients), soil water, elevation, and canola seed yield were investigated in a transect across a hummocky, undulating farm field in the Brown soil zone of south-central Saskatchewan. Overall, seed yield was highest in foot slope positions in the landscape where soil organic matter, nutrients, and available water content were higher. Correlations between soil properties and seed yield were highest for pH (R = -0.46, P < 0.01), which was followed by organic C % (R = 0.27, P < 0.05), water content (R = 0.23), extractable potassium (K) (R = 0.18) and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) supply rates to exchange resin membranes (R = 0.15). Extractable N and P were poorly correlated with seed yield (R < 0.1). The landscape region with soil parameters and yield closest to the average for the entire transect was the back slope region, suggesting that in similar landscapes, this region would be most appropriate for selection as a representative benchmark sampling site.

Key Words

Transect; soil properties; grain yield; relative elevation