SOIL HYDRO-PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AFTER MAIZE CULTIVATION INTERCROPPED WITH Urochloa brizantha CULTIVARS
The intercropping of maize with forage plants is a farming technique aimed at producing grains and grazing, with beneficial results for the sustainability of production. Most of the research carried out with maize (Zea mays) intercropped with palisadegrass (Urochloa brizantha) has evaluated the agronomic performance of the crops. Therefore, there is a lack of research on the effects of this technique on the soil hydro-physical characteristics. For this reason, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the cultivation of maize intercropped with U. brizantha on the soil hydro-physical characteristics. The study was conducted in an experimental area at Faculdade Católica of Tocantins, in Palmas/Tocantins, Brazil; using a randomized complete block design, in a 4x2 factorial scheme, with three repetitions. The study comprised four types of intercropping: i) maize with U. brizantha cv. Marandu sown by broadcast; ii) maize with U. brizantha cv. Marandu sown between the maize rows; (iii) maize with U. brizantha cv. Piatã sown by broadcast; iv) maize with U. brizantha cv. Piatã sown between the maize rows; and two implantation periods: v) simultaneous sowing; vi) sowing 20 days after the maize. The hydro-physical properties evaluated were soil density, total soil porosity and soil water holding capacity. There was a significant interaction between the type of intercrop and the sowing time in the soil density and total soil porosity, but no significant differences in soil water holding capacity. Results show that the intercropping of maize with U. brizantha sown simultaneously improves the physical properties of the soil such as density and porosity, in comparison to the U. brizantha implantation 20 days after sowing maize. The intercrop of i) maize with U. brizantha cv. Marandu sown between the maize row and ii) maize with U. brizantha cv. Piatã sown by broadcast between the maize row (in simultaneous sowing) improved
the soil physical attributes.