Thermo-physical-hydraulic variables in a no-tillage system related to wheeled traffic and furrow-opening mechanisms

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the impact of different furrow-opening mechanisms on soil physical characteristics, such as mobilization, porosity, bulk density, and the dynamics of water content and temperature in the sowing groove, as well as the influence of wheeled traffic and of these variables on corn (Zea mays) productivity. The experiment was conducted at the agronomic experimental station of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul on a Argissolo Vermelho (red Ultisol). Treatments consisted of three winter cover crops and of two types of furrow-opening mechanisms for fertilization (shank and disk), with or without tractor traffic. Corn was planted as the summer crop, and soil mobilization in the sowing groove, soil temperature and moisture content during the crop cycle, and soil physical conditions, such as bulk density and porosity, were evaluated. Tractor traffic and the type of furrow-opening mechanism used did not affect significantly soil temperature and moisture content during the development of the corn crop; however, significant differences were observed in grain productivity and soil mobilization, bulk density, and porosity.