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No-till banana planting on crop residue mulch: Effect on soil quality and crop functioning

Dorel M., Lakhia S., Pététin C., Bouamer S., Risède J.M.. 2010. Fruits, 65 (2) : p. 55-68.

DOI: 10.1051/fruits/20010001

Introduction. In the French West Indies, farmers generally consider that periodical soil tillage is necessary to increase soil porosity and maintain high yield. However, in the nontilled perennial banana plantations of the highlands, the soil exhibits better physical and biological properties than in the conventional banana plantations. To determine if tillage before banana planting is necessary for proper banana crop functioning and to assess the effect of tillage on soil quality, banana planting after conventional tillage was compared with no-till banana planting on crop residue mulch on an experimental plot. Materials and methods. Soil quality was assessed through indicators such as porosity, organic status, microbial biomass and structure of nematode communities. Crop functioning was assessed through plant growth, root distribution, and soil water and nitrogen availability. Results. We found that tillage reduced soil microbial biomass and the number of nematode functional guilds. Tillage had only a short-term effect on soil porosity and did not allow deeper extension of the root system. Although soil organic nitrogen mineralization was higher with conventional tillage, banana nitrogen nutrition was not better, probably because the high nitrogen fertilization offset the variations in availability of nitrogen from organic origin. We found that banana growth was better with no-till treatment. This could be explained by less drying out of soil due to the crop residue mulch left on the soil surface with no-till treatment. Conclusion. Relative to conventional tillage, no-till banana planting improved soil quality and crop performance.

Mots-clés : musa (bananes); non-travail du sol; flore du sol; performance de culture; paillage; nematoda; propriété physicochimique du sol; résidu de récolte; guadeloupe; france

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