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Soil  Physical  Health Assessment

Division of Agricultural Physics

Indian Agricultural Research Institute

New Delhi


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About soil physical health assessment


Methodology for computing soil physical health index: Soil physical rating score chart by Gupta and Abrol (1993) was used for rating different soil physical parameters. Scores for different soil parameters were given as per the rating chart tables for both upland crop and lowland rice. In these tables three important soil parameters namely soil depth, depth of water table and land slope have not been mentioned as in the surveyed area soils were deep (>1 m), depth of water table was >1.5 m and land slopes were <2 %. The parameters considered for computing soil physical health assessment were Bulk density ( BD in Mg m-3), saturated hydraulic conductivity (Sat HC in cm h-1), available water retention capacity (AWRC in cm m-1), organic carbon (OC in %) and non-capillary pores (NCP in %).
The above rating chart was prepared by analyzing the soil physical and yield data of 30 years of research experiments reported in All India coordinated research project on �Improvement of soil physical conditions to increase agricultural production of problematic areas�. These experiments were conducted for different cropping systems at various locations with different soil types and agro climatic zones. Same ranges of soil parameters were assigned different rating values under rice and wheat cultivations because optimum soil physical environment required for their growth were different.
For a given site, each of these parameters was assigned a rating value corresponding to its actual value by referring to rating chart. Each of this parameter was given a score of 1 if the parameter value lies within the optimum range. If the value lies below or above the critical limit, a score less than 1 were given. Greater the deviation of parameter value from optimum range, lesser the score given to it. The product of rating values of all the eight parameters gave the physical rating index (PI). PI was an indicator of overall soil physical health status. For range of PI >0.75, 0.50-0.75, 0.25-0.50 and <0.25, soil physical health status and accordingly its production potential could be labeled as very good, good, medium or poor, respectively.

R. P. Gupta and I. P. Abrol, 1993. A study of some tillage practices for sustainable crop production in India. Soil and Tillage Research, 27:253-272.

Ali Ashraf Amirinejad et al., 2011. Assessment and mapping of spatial variation of soil physical health in a farm. Geoderma, 160:292�303.


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