Spatial variability of forage yield and soil physical attributes of a Brachiaria decumbens pasture in the Brazilian Cerrado
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The objective of this study was to analyze variability, linear and spatial correlations of forage dry mass yield (FDM) and dry matter percentage (DM%) of Brachiaria decumbens with the bulk density (BD), gravimetric (GM) and volumetric (VM) moisture, mechanical resistance to penetration (RP) and organic matter content (OM), at depths 1 (0-0.10 m) and 2 (0.10-0.20 m), in a Red Latosol (Oxisol), in order to select an indicator of soil physical quality and identify possible causes of pasture degradation. The geostatistical grid was installed to collect soil and plant data, with 121 sampling points, over an area of 2.56 ha. The linear correlation between FDM × DM% and FDM × BD2 was low, but highly significant. Spatial correlations varied inversely and positively, respectively. Except for DM% and BD, at both depths, the other attributes showed average to high variability, indicating a heterogeneous environment. Thus, geostatistics emerges as an important tool in understanding the interactions in pasture ecosystems, in order to minimize possible causes of degradation and indicate better alternatives for soil-plant-animal management. The decrease in FDM and increased BD1 are indicators of physical degradation (compaction) of Red Latosol (Oxisol), particularly in the places with the highest concentration of animals and excessive trampling, in Cerrado conditions, in the municipality of Selvíria, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil.
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