ASSESSMENT OF SOIL QUALITY, MICROBIAL FUNCTIONS AND PIGEON PEA (CAJANUS CAJAN) YIELD UNDER SILVER-BLACK PLASTIC MULCHINGPRIYANKA PATHAK, MAYURI GUPTA, GYAN PRAKASH PATEL, K.V.R. RAO AND ANIL K. DUBEY
Mulching is considered to be the most important cultural practice playing an important role in soil moisture conservation and weed control. Mulching also enhances soil microbial biomass, changes biological characteristics, cycle nutrients and provides a more stable soil micro-environment. An investigation was conducted to assess the influence of mulching on soil biological properties, crop growth and yield parameters of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) crop. In the present study a relationship between soil moisture, soil temperature, organic matter content, microbial biomass carbon and microbial count of 25 micron thick silver black polyethylene mulched and un-mulched soil were evaluated at 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm depths. The crop growth and yield parameters were also studied in relation with physicochemical and biological properties of soil. A positive correlation was found between soil moisture content and microbiological properties of soil. Though, lower organic matter content at surface (0-5cm) in plastic mulched soil was observed, due to high microbial activity the organic carbon percentage was more. The yield under mulched field was found to be 33 percent higher than the unmulched field.
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