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Effects of Mulching and Snow Cover on Soil Moisture, Soil Temperature and Soil Losses

Hülya Bakır 1, Salih Evren 1, Hikmet Birhan 1, and Taşkın Öztaş 2
1. Eastern Anatolia Agricultural Research Institute, Erzurum, Turkey
2. Atatürk University Faculty of Agriculture, Erzurum, Turkey
Abstract—Agricultural sustainability is highly correlated with soil management practices. Suitability of soil moisture and temperature for plant growth limits agricultural production especially in arid and semiarid-regions. The objective of this study was to determine effects of mulching and snow cover on soil moisture content and soil temperature as well as runoff and soil losses. Twenty four USLE erosion model parcels were used for 4 different soil types and 3 soil surface conditions (tilled, non-tilled and mulched) with snow-covered and snow cleaned surfaces. Soil moisture and temperature were recorded with every 30 minute intervals during twelve months in 2015 at three different soil depths (5, 25 and 80cm) using moisture and temperature sensors. Runoff and soil losses from each soil parcel were also measured. The results indicated that variability in soil moisture content and temperature were highly affected by soil type, soil tillage and soil surface cover. The highest soil moisture values were obtained under mulching conditions in April and May due to snow melting and spring rains and the maximum soil profile temperature was recorded in July and August. Runoff and soil losses from mulched and snow-covered parcels were 2.8 and 3.8 times lower than these of non-tilled+snow-cleaned parcels and tilled+snow-cleaned parcels, respectively.
Index Terms—soil management, soil moisture, soil temperature, runoff and soil loss

Cite: Hülya Bakır, Salih Evren, Hikmet Birhan, and Taşkın Öztaş, "Effects of Mulching and Snow Cover on Soil Moisture, Soil Temperature and Soil Losses," Journal of Advanced Agricultural Technologies, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 305-309, December 2016. Doi: 10.18178/joaat.3.4.305-309
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