Influence of Different Grassland Management on Water Infiltration and Soil Physical Properties

1 Mendel University in Brno, Department of Animal Nutrition and ForageProduction, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
2 Mendel University in Brno, Department of Agrochemistry, Soil Science, Microbiology and Plant Nutrition, Faculty of Agronomy, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic


SOCHOREC, M., J. JANDÁK, J. RAUS, M. KVASNOVSKÝ, S. HEJDUK and P. KNOT, 2015. Influence of different grassland management on water infiltration and soil physical properties. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 21: 573–578

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the effect of animal trampling and heavy machinery used for forage harvest on soil physical properties and infiltration rate in grasslands. Soil physical properties under grasslands are expected to be modified by stocking density at the pastures and at the meadows by silage harvest machinery. These physical properties of soil can affect hydrologic processes that have important implications for water runoff (or balance). Trial was conducted during the period 2011 – 2013 in three sward types: meadow (ME), cattle pasture (PA), and unutilized grassland (PN) which was control variant. Measurements were made at the beginning of the vegetation period (April) after the first cut (July) and at the end of growing season (October). Infiltration rate, bulk density and porosity were evaluated. For measurement of water infiltration double ring in filtrometer method was used. For determination of soil physical properties undisturbed soil samples were taken from depth of 20 – 70 mm, 120 – 170 mm and 220 – 270 mm along with infiltration attempt. Harvest machinery and cattle grazing significantly (p ≤ 0.05) decreased infiltration rate. It reached in the first minute value 34.5 mm/min in PN treatment compared to 7.0 mm/min in PA and 12.6 mm/min in ME. Significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) were found in soil physics at followed order in bulk density: PA (1.57 g/cm3) ˃ME (1.42 g/cm3) ˃PN (1.17 g/cm3), in porosity: PA (40.2% vol.) ˂ME (45.9% vol.) ˂PN (55.6% vol.) in average of all years and depths. These results demonstrate that intensive grassland exploitation causes soil compaction, degradation of soil physical properties and leads ultimately to reduce infiltration rate.

Key words: infiltration rate, meadow, pasture, soil compaction, soil physical properties, stocking density

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