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Influence of small-scale spatial variability of soil properties on yield formation of winter wheat (2023.0)

Groß J., Gentsch N., Boy J., Heuermann D., Schweneker D., Feuerstein U., Brunner J., von Wirén N., Guggenberger G., Bauer B.

Plant and Soil, 493 (1-2), 79-97



Abstract Background With the increasing development of sophisticated precision farming techniques, high-resolution application maps are frequently discussed as a key factor in increasing yield potential. However, yield potential maps based on multiple soil properties measurements are rarely part of current farming practices. Furthermore, small-scale differences in soil properties have not been taken into account. Methods To investigate the impact of soil property changes at high resolution on yield, a field trial has been divided into a sampling grid of 42 plots. The soil properties in each plot were determined at three soil depths. Grain yield and yield formation of winter wheat were analyzed at two sites. Results Multiple regression analyses of soil properties with yield measures showed that the soil contents of organic carbon, silt, and clay in the top and subsoil explained 45–46% of the variability in grain yield. However, an increasing clay content in the topsoil correlated positively with grain yield and tiller density. In contrast, a higher clay content in the subsoil led to a decrease in grain yield. A cluster analysis of soil texture was deployed to evaluate whether the soil´s small-scale differences caused crucial differences in yield formation. Significant differences in soil organic carbon, yield, and yield formation were observed among clusters in each soil depth. Conclusion These results show that small-scale lateral and vertical differences in soil properties can strongly impact crop yields and should be considered to improve site-specific cropping techniques further. Catchy