Soil quality index applied to Cucurbit production (Chaco, Argentina)


Soil quality (SQ) assessment is an important tool for monitoring the sustainability of production systems. The National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) selected a minimum dataset of indicators (MDS) with the objective of generating a tool for diagnosis and monitoring of soils subject to land use changes. The MDS is composed of: total organic carbon, particulate organic carbon, total nitrogen, pH, bulk density and the wind erodible fraction. The objective of this work was to use the MDS and the Soil Quality Index (SQI) derived from it to describe the state of the soils intended for Cucurbit production in Chaco. The MDS was sufficiently sensitive to describe the state of the soils. The low and moderate SQ highlighted the need to incorporate soil conservation practices, given the low levels of organic matter and physical degradation. These practices would also contribute to the control of wind erosion, a process that is poorly managed in the area.
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