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CERTIFICATION This is to certify that this project was carried out by ADEBAYO ADEBIMPE MOROLAKE under our supervision as part of the requirements for the award of bachelor of Agriculture (B.Agric.) in the department of Soil Science and Land Resources Management, Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria.

Professor D.O. Aina (Project supervisor)

Professor A.A. Amusan (Head of department)



DEDICATION This project is dedicated to Almighty God, the author and the finisher of my faith, to whom all glory belong to and to all who have contributed in one way or the other to the success of my project.

ACKNOWLEGDEMENT My profound gratitude goes to God Almighty, the pillar that holds my life, my backbone and my all in all. I owe a special debt to my Parents, Pastor Samuel Oluremi & Mrs. Deborah Funmilayo Adebayo for their love, unfailing support, care and advise over the last few years, may God in his infinite mercy spare your life to reap the good works of your labour, you are the best and l love you. I also give a big thank to my ever supportive supervisor in person of Professor Diipo Aina he is not only a supervisor but a father for his advice, support and for all the times he spent directing me towards the right path, l say thank you sir, and l also thank my head of department( Professor A.A.Amusan)and l appreciate my other lecturers too, Professor Oyedele, Professor Olayinka, Professor Okunsami, Professor Adepetu, Dr (Mrs)Idowu, Dr (Mrs) Adesanwo Dr Muda and l would also like to express my gratitude to my siblings Adebayo Busuyi, Adebayo Odunayo, Adebayo Abimbola, Adebayo Samuel, Adebayo Oluwadamilola and Adebayo Oluwapemilola for their love and support and also my friends in and outside of the faculty Adeboye Odunayo(OD), Aderogba Adedoyin, Durotoye Ifeoluwa, Oluremi Yemisi, Olaleye Abimfoluwa, Dr.Opeyemi Idowu, Sanusi Temitope, Ajishe Tomilola, Anifowose Titilayo and I will not forget to say thank you to my dear sister, Mrs Olufemi and her husband.I also appreciate my project colleagues Olakayode Abiodun, Olukoju Oluwole, Amama Elizabeth and Owa Olalekan thank you for cooperation. Finally, to all my IMPERIAL 11(SLM) classmate, it was an immense pleasure to have met all of you and lived through this program with unforgettable moments. Thanks to every one of you and I hope that one day our path will cross again.


ABSTRACT Aggregate stability measure structural stability of the soil and when soil aggregate stability is reduced it means there is an increase in soil degradation. There are some factors that affect aggregate stability which are important in determining the ease to which soil is eroded by water or and wind. Two soils series whereas used, the Itagunmodi series and Apomu series. The method used to determine or evaluate the aggregate stability is raindrop technique and the energy of raindrop impact is the most important variable in describing time to breakdown the aggregate, the same procedure was done on the two soils series and different results were gotten. From the results, Itagunmodi series has higher energy mean than Apomu series and it required more raindrop and time before it dispersed rather than Apomu series. Itagunmodi series is more stable than Apomu series.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Soil aggregate stability is a balance established between disruptive forces and those that favour aggregation. For the surface aggregate these forces are represented by the raindrop impact together with dispersion and hydration. The soil surface response to these forces is shown by the permeability values, which determine the quantity of rain water going into the soil profile, and which will be available for the plants. Soil stability has been related to organic matter content, structure, texture, aggregate size and presence of Fe and Al sesquioxides (Le Bissonnais ( 1997), Stolte et al.,(1997) and Roth (1997)).Furthermore, the size distribution and aggregate stability can be influenced by the conditions imposed during soil sampling, preparation and analysis. Different methods have been applied to analyze the aggregate stability in order to predict the field behaviour of soils: (Kemper a& Koch, 1966; Kemper & Rosenau, 1986; Beare et al, 1993; Le Bissonnais, 1993, amongst others. The resistance offered by the soil surface aggregate to the raindrop impact is determined by a larger susceptibility to sealing formation. When the drop impacts on the aggregate surface, the surface structure is disintegrated producing a variation in the water penetration rate and in the accumulation of particles detached by the impact on the surface. These particles are in the suspension and when sedimentation takes place, the finest particles rest on the upper part and they are susceptible to transportation. The sealing which is formed is characterised by small particles on the surface, sparse large pores, high bulk density and sometimes, with a laminar structure due to the particles stratification and orientation ( Pla, 1995). The sealing degree during a storm depends on many factors including rainfall intensity, energy, slope, aggregate stability, texture and electrolytes.

Soils are most important in many ecosystems as dynamic natural body and fundamental resource. Human activities often influence the natural processes in soils. One of the most critical natural resource management needs of the 21st century is information about the dynamic nature of soils, or simply, soil changes (Tugel et al, 2005). Soil aggregate stability is an important indicator of soil physical quality (Castro Filho et al., 2002). Land use and management also influence soil aggregation and aggregate stability (Bergkamp and Jongejans, 1988; Cerda, 2000). Aggregate can be considered as quasi-permanent units of structure that exist in soil, despite seasonal modification by weathering and the action of the short-term disruptive forces such as swelling, impact of raindrops, mechanical overloading (compaction and shear) and creep (flow of water under its own weight) such aggregate are often called peds and are distinguished by their more permanent nature from fragment or clods formed at or near the soil surface by cultivation and frost action (Hodgson,1976).Aggregate are formed mainly by physical forces ,whereas the particles within the aggregate are held together (stabilized) largely by linear organic polymers that have many active groups that reacts with clay particles.Good stabilization of aggregate necessitate that the forces outside of the aggregate be considerably weaker than those inside. Though here are macropores and micropores, Edward and Bremmer(1967) stated that the only aggregate in the soil that have high stability are the micro aggregate(<0.25) which appear to consist largely of clay minerals and humified organic matter, and that any aggregate containing sand grains such as the model soil aggregate propose to Emerson,has little stability and is likely to be disrupted by relatively mild natural processes.The newly formed component from the breakdown of soil aggregate are smaller than the soil aggregate from which they were derived

and they provide a store of materials which is organized by drop impacts into a surface crust (Bryan,1973, Farres, 1978). The impact of rain drop on the soil surface must include an analysis of the stress produced which should correspond to the strength of the soil crumb needed to resist this impact. There are many methods that have been used to analyse or measure aggregate stability. Direct dry sieving of soils as they occur in the field has been used by Keen (1933),Cole(1939)and others to evaluate the distribution of clods and aggregate. The wet sieving methods of Tiulin(1928) and Elutration which may be used for separation aggregate with diameter between 1mm and 0.02mm.Several investigation (Baver and Rhoades,1932,Demolon and Henin 1932) have successfully used the elutrator for making aggregate analysis. Sedimentation method have been used to determine the aggregate distribution in the finer fraction that cannot be separated by sieving. Cole and Edletson(1935) designed a large sedimentation tube in which the particles fall in still water. Middleton(1930) has suggested the dispersion ratio as a measure of aggregate ,this ratio represents the percentage of particles smaller than 0.05mm in the aggregate sample divided by percentage of the same size in the dispersed sample. EFFECT OF ORGANIC MATTER Soil organic matter certainly improves the ability of the soil to resist erosion and enables the soil to hold more water. Important is its effect in promoting soil aggregation in a granular soil and the combination of increased water penetration (Stevenson and Cole, 1999). The loss of organic matter and consequently soil fertility is often driven by unsustainable practices such as deep plowing on fragile soils and cultivation of erosion-facilitating crops and the continuous use of heavy machinery which destroys soil structure through compaction.

Soil organic matter content has a direct relationship with soil erodibility. The stability of soil aggregates is enhanced where organic material is combined with clay particles and where it contributes to chemical bonding (Morgan, 1986). Generally, soils with a higher content of organic matter and an improved soil structure have a greater resistance against soil erosion by water and wind. Continuous soil erosion has a significant effect on soil erodibility. In the research areas the material below a soil which was totally eroded is often more erodible because of its low organic matter content, its lower clay content and its different structure. Low aggregate stability enforces soil erosion.


Soil structure is defined by the combination or arrangement of primary soil particles into compound elements, which is separated from adjoining structural elements by surfaces of weakness soil texture, soil structure, and the type of clay mineral, organic matter content and type, cementing agents and cropping history influence the aggregate stability. Among the mechanical destructive forces are soil tillage, impact of heavy machinery, treading by animals and raindrop splash. Physicochemical forces are examples slaking, swelling and shrinkage, dispersion and flocculation. Slaking is the process of structure breakdown under the influence of wetting of soil aggregate, due to swelling of clay minerals, dissolving of cementing agents, air explosion or reduction in pore water suction. Slaking may result in the formation of a superficial crust, reducing water infiltration and enhancing sediment loss by downward transportation with surface runoff water. The most important function of soil is that it is the basic media of crop production (Varallyay, 2002). Consequently, sustaining and ameliorating of soil structure is crucial.

Decline of soil structure and degradation of its stability are frequently caused by tillage, crop management and getting moist (Chan et al., 2003). Soil structure is built up by groups of primary particles that cohere to each other, and which are called aggregates (Kemper and Rosneau, 1986). (Di Gleria et al., 1957). Water stability is often investigated by wet sieving. Earlier reported methodological problems were solved and circumstances affecting soil structure were standardized with the new modified wet sieving method proposed by Six (2000). The soil structure depends namely on the grain size distribution, on soil formation processes and the effects of plants, animals and humans. Freezing and thawing, water movement, the growth and decay of plant roots and the activity of soil animals (e.g. Earth worms) as natural factors on the one hand and human activities (namely management practices) on the other can cause in rearranging of particles in soil aggregates. Therefore in many cases the structure of a soil directly affects its properties (Marshall et al., 1996). A low status of organic matter (naturally low or due to soil degradation) is an important reason for the instability of soil aggregates. Many agricultural practices affect soil structure. Decrease in both the stability and the organic matter of soils under annual tillage has been observed by several researchers (e.g. Low, 1972; Allen, 1985; Gami et al., 2001; Caravaca et al., 2001).

SOIL STABILITY The Normalized Stability Index (NSI) characterises aggregate stability by comparing the aggregate distribution after two differently disrupting wetting methods. The two different wetting methods are:


Fast wetting, namely rapid immersion in water (Slaking (S)), which disrupts the aggregates to the highest extent, therefore produce the lowest aggregate amount; and


Slow wetting, namely capillary wetting (Capillary (C)) to field capacity, which disrupts the aggregates to the lowest extent and therefore achieves the highest aggregate amount. The capillary wetting method was earlier tried to get different size fractions to evaluate the distribution of soil organic matter in soils (Huisz et al., 2006).


Soil type

In sandy soils, soil particles are unable to form stable aggregates, but the soils are free draining. As the clay content of the soil increases, the particles are held together more strongly and structural strength increases. Soil slaking or dispersion is evident in soils with a high content of fine sand and/or silt (loamy soil) and low organic matter levels, with crusting and hardsetting most common in soils with 10 to 35 percent clay.

The soil has a major role in determining whether a soil is hardsetting. Soil types prone to hardsetting are unable to develop water-stable aggregates and are a feature of many - particularly those low in organic matter (<2%).

Exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP)

The chemical make-up of the soil will also influence its structure. A soil chemical test reports sodicity as exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP). An ESP of > 6 indicates a sodic soil which is

likely to suffer from problems of dispersion in the surface and/or subsoil layers when cultivated and/or impacted by rain or surface run off.


The impact of raindrops interacts with the level of soil cover and the tendency of a soil to slake (soil aggregates can collapse within minutes of rainfall starting) and disperse (separation of soil particles may take a number of hours) to influence surface bonding (crusting, hardsetting). Soils with low organic matter are more prone to surface crusting.

Organic matter retention

Increasing soil cover (organic residues) decreases the impact of raindrops on the soil surface, whereas bare soil becomes compacted by successive rainfall events. Increased soil organic matter promotes soil aggregation and soil stability. Organic matter, root exudates, soil fauna (including fungi and bacteria) and organo-metallic complexes help bind particles and form stable soil aggregates, and result in soils which are less likely to crust, have a faster rate of water infiltration and are generally more fertile.

Soil disturbance

Although predominantly associated with natural processes, crusting can be caused by tilling or excessive stocking on wet soils, and is exacerbated by a lack of cover and low organic matter content. Zero tillage promotes the build-up of organic residues on and near the soil surface, retains root biopores and improves soil structure compared to continuous cultivation.


The formation of soil happens over a very long period of time. It can take 1000 years or more. Soil is formed from the weathering of rocks and minerals. The surface rocks break down into smaller pieces through a process of weathering and is then mixed with moss and organic matter. Over time this creates a thin layer of soil. Plants help the development of the soil. How? The plants attract animals, and when the animals die, their bodies decay. Decaying matter makes the soil thick and rich. This continues until the soil is fully formed. The soil then supports many different plants.


1. Parent material: The primary material from which the soil is formed. Soil parent material could be bedrock, organic material, an old soil surface, or a deposit from water, wind, glaciers, volcanoes, or material moving down a slope.

2. Climate: Weathering forces such as heat, rain, ice, snow, wind, sunshine, and other environmental forces, break down parent material and affect how fast or slow soil formation processes go.

3. Organisms: All plants and animals living in or on the soil (including micro-organisms and humans!). The amount of water and nutrients, plants need affects the way soil forms. The way humans use soils affects soil formation. Also, animals living in the soil affect decomposition of waste materials and how soil materials will be moved around in the soil profile. On the soil surface remains of dead plants and animals are worked by microorganisms and eventually become organic matter that is incorporated into the soil and enriches the soil.

4. Topography: The location of a soil on a landscape can affect how the climatic processes impact it. Soils at the bottom of a hill will get more water than soils on the slopes, and soils on the slopes that directly face the sun will be drier than soils on slopes that do not. Also, mineral accumulations, plant nutrients, type of vegetation, vegetation growth, erosion, and water drainage are dependent on topographic relief.

5. Time: All of the above factors assert themselves over time, often hundreds or thousands of years. Soil profiles continually change from weakly developed to well developed over time.


Soil structural degradation produces condition less favourable for crop production has become a global phenomenon in agricultural soils. The extent of the degradation varies from soil to soil depending upon what causes it. The causes can be classified into four categories including: i. Mechanical compaction as a result of the use of heavy machinery (Hakansson and Voorhes. 1997; Brussard and Van Faassen. 1994; Hakansson et al.. 1988; Jakobsen and Greacen. 1985). ii. Surface crusting due to raindrop impact (Summer and Stewart. 1992; Le Bissonnias et al. 1989; Levy et al.. 1986; Kemper and Miller. 1974). iii. Hardsetting because of soil structure collapse due to water unstable aggregate (Mullins et al..1990; Gusli et at..1994a.b). iv. And aggregate coalescence of relatively water stable aggregates (Cockroft and Olsson, 2000. Ghezzehei and Or, 2000)

It is a soil condition in which aggregates become welded at their contact points (Bresson and Moran. 1995; Ghezzehei and Or, 2000) and this welding is thought to increase soil strength and restrict root growth in irrigated soils (Cockroft,2000).

OBJECTIVES. The aim of this work is to assess those raindrops characteristics which determine when soil aggregate breakdown and to consider some of the accumulated facts on issues of aggregate formation and stability using two soil samples of different structural and textural classes(i.e. Apomu series (sand) and Itagunmodi series

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Aggregate stability is a measure of the structural stability of soils. Factors that influence aggregate stability are important in evaluating the ease with which soils erode by water and/or wind, the potential of soils to crust and/or seal, soil permeability, quasi-steady state infiltration rates and seedling emergence and in predicting the capacity of soils to sustain long-term crop production. Aggregate stability of soils can be measured by the wet-sieving or raindrop techniques. A reduction in soil aggregate stability implies an increase in soil degradation. Hence aggregate stability and soil degradation are interwoven. Definition of soil structures as mainly focused on the management of soil particles and the spaces surrounding them. This was exposed by Marshal and Holmes (1978) as The arrangement of the solid phase of the soil and of the pore space located between its constituents particles this includes the size, shape and arrangement of aggregated formed where primary particles are clustered together into larger separate unit (Marshall et al., 1996). However, Dexter (1988) defines soil structure as the spatial heterogenecity of different component or properties of soil. Thus, this definition encompasses all aspects of the soil structure that affect root growth including soil strength.

PHYSICAL AGENTS IN AGGREGATION Tillage Impact in Aggregate The overwhelming interest in agricultural sustainability is attributed to several changes facing intensive agriculture, such as excessive fertilizer application, risks of environmental pollution and degradation of soil and water resources. Conservation tillage systems, rather than plowbased methods of seedbed preparation, have the potential to provide sustainable usage of soil resources. Cultivation can alter soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, whereby plant growth, development and yield could be influenced (Blevins and Thomas, 1983; Grant and Lafond, 1993). There are many examples of inappropriate agricultural management resulting in deterioration of soil quality (Mullins et al., 1990). Several studies have reported the effects of management such as tillage and rotation on soil structural characteristics, especially stability and size distribution of aggregates (Angers, 1992; Ismail et al., 1994). Bear et al. (1994) reported that residue cover in no-till method improved soil aggregation and organic carbon content. Carter and Rennie (1982) also reported a higher soil organic carbon at the soil surface in no-till system. In a 28-year study on Ohio soils, Lal et al. (1994) reported that no-till improved soil aggregate stability. Tisdall and Oades(1982), Elliott (1986), and Kay (1990) reported that cultivation can cause a disruption of soil aggregate sand loss of soil organic carbon. Hamblin (1980) found that no-till system could result in a smaller aggregate mean weight diameter (MWD). Tillage systems are location specific, so the degree of their success depends on soil, climate, and management practices. Although little differences in soil structural characteristics have been reported among tillage systems (Bauer and Black, 1981), low precipitation and high temperature

in arid and semi-arid regions result in a lower potential for soil organic carbon accumulation. After 11 years of study on a sandy-loam soil in a semi-arid region, Campbell and Souster (1982) reported that due to equal residue production of both systems, neither tillage nor fallow elevated soil organic carbon content. Measurement of aggregation characteristics as indicators of soil structure has been reported extensively in the literature (Caron et al., 1996; Hajabbasi et al., 1999). Irrigation Irrigation, applying water to assure sufficient soil moisture is available for good plant growth, as practiced in North Dakota is called "supplemental irrigation" because it is used to augment the rainfall that occurs during the growing season. Irrigation is used on full season agronomic crops to provide a dependable yield every year. It is also used on crops where water stress affects the quality of the yield, such as flowers, vegetables and fruits.

During most years it is not uncommon for some places in the state to receive sufficient rainfall for good plant growth while other areas experience reduced yields or quality on non-irrigated crops because of water stress from insufficient soil moisture. For irrigation planning purposes, average precipitation during the growing season is not a good yardstick for determining a need for irrigation. The timing and amounts of rainfall during the season, the soil's ability to hold water, and the crop's water requirements are all factors which influence the need for irrigation. Any location in the state can have what might be considered "wet" or "dry" weeks, months and even years.

Under irrigation, soil and water compatibility is very important. If they are not compatible, the applied irrigation water could have an adverse effect on the chemical and physical properties of

the soil. Determining the suitability of land for irrigation requires a thorough evaluation of the soil properties, the topography of the land within the field and the quality of water to be used for irrigation. A basic understanding of soil/water/plant interactions will help irrigators efficiently manage their crops, soils, irrigation systems and water supplies.


Soil Texture

Soil texture is determined by the size and type of solid particles that make up the soil. Soil particles may be either mineral or organic. In most soils, the largest proportions of particles are mineral and are referred to as "mineral soils." For mineral soils, the texture is based on the relative proportion of the particles under 2 millimeters (mm) or 5/64th of an inch in size. The largest particles are sand, the smallest are clay, and silt is in between. The soil texture is based on the percentage of sand, silt and clay. Soil texture classes may be modified if greater than 15% of the particles are organic (e.g. mucky silt loam). Soil particles greater than 2 mm in size are not used to determine soil texture. However, when they make up more than 15% of the soil volume, the textural class is modified (e.g. gravelly sand).

Soil Structure

Soil structure refers to the grouping of particles of sand, silt, and clay into larger aggregates of various sizes and shapes. The processes of root penetration, wetting and drying cycles, freezing and thawing, and animal activity combined with inorganic and organic cementing agents produce soil structure. Structural aggregates that are resistant to physical stress are important to the maintenance of soil tilth and productivity. Practices such as excessive cultivation or tillage of

wet soils disrupt aggregates and accelerate the loss of organic matter, causing decreased aggregate stability.

The movement of air, water, and plant roots through a soil is affected by soil structure. Stable aggregates result in a network of soil pores that allow rapid exchange of air and water with plant roots. Plant growth depends on rapid rates of exchange. Good soil structure can be maintained by practicing beneficial soil management such as crop rotations, organic matter additions, and timely tillage practices. In sandy soils, aggregate stability is often difficult to maintain due to low organic matter, clay content and resistance of sand particles to cementing processes.

Soil Depth

Soil depth refers to the thickness of the soil materials which provide structural support, nutrients, and water for plants. In North Dakota, soil series that have bedrock between 10 and 20 inches from the surface are described as shallow. Bedrock between 20 and 40 inches is described as moderately deep. Most soil series in North Dakota have bedrock at depths greater than 40 inches and are described as deep. Depth to contrasting textures is given in the soil series descriptions in the county soil survey report.

The depth to a contrasting soil layer of sand and gravel can affect irrigation management decisions. If the depth to this layer is less than 3 feet, the rooting depth and available soil water for plants is decreased. Soils with less available water for plants require more frequent irrigations.

Soil Permeability and Infiltration

A soil's permeability is a measure of the ability of air and water to move through it. Permeability is influenced by the size, shape, and continuity of the pore spaces, which in turn are dependent on the soil bulk density, structure and texture. Most soil series are assigned to a single permeability class based on the most restrictive layer in the upper 5 feet of the soil profile (Table 1). However, soil series with contrasting textures in the soil profile are assigned to more than one permeability class. In most cases, soils with a slow, very slow, rapid or very rapid permeability classification are considered poor for irrigation.

Table 2.1 Soil Permeability Classes. Infiltration Rate Classification Very Slow Slow Moderately Slow Moderate (cm/hour) Less than 0.15 0.15 to 0.51 0.51 to 1.52 1.52 to 5.08

Moderately Rapid 5.08 to 15.24 Rapid Very Rapid 15.24 to 50.8 Greater than 50.8

Infiltration is the downward flow of water from the surface through the soil. The infiltration rate (sometimes called intake rate) of a soil is a measure of its ability to absorb an amount of rain or irrigation water over a given time period. It is commonly expressed in inches per hour. It is dependent on the permeability of the surface soil, moisture content of the soil and surface conditions such as roughness (tillage and plant residue), slope, and plant cover.

Coarse textured soils such as sands and gravel usually have high infiltration rates. The infiltration rates of medium and fine textured soils such as loams, silts, and clays are lower than those of coarse textured soils and more dependant on the stability of the soil aggregates. Water and plant nutrient losses may be greater on coarse textured soils, so the timing and quantity of chemical and water applications is particularly critical on these soils.

Water Holding Capacity of Soils

There are four important levels of soil moisture content that reflect the availability of water in the soil. These levels are commonly referred to as: 1) saturation, 2) field capacity, 3) wilting point and 4) oven dry.

When a soil is saturated, the soil pores are filled with water and nearly all of the air in the soil has been displaced by water. The water held in the soil between saturation and field capacity is gravitational water. Frequently, gravitational water will take a few days to drain through the soil profile and some can be absorbed by roots of plants.

Field capacity is defined as the level of soil moisture left in the soil after drainage of the gravitational water. Water held between field capacity and the wilting point is available for plant use.

The wilting point is defined as the soil moisture content where most plants cannot exert enough force to remove water from small pores in the soil. Most crops will be permanently damaged if the soil moisture content is allowed to reach the wilting point. In many cases, yield reductions may occur long before this point is reached.

Capillary water held in the soil beyond the wilting point can only be removed by evaporation. When soil is dried in an oven, nearly all water is removed. "Oven dry" moisture content is used to provide a reference for measuring the other three soil moisture contents.

How Plants Get Water from Soil

Water is essential for plant growth. Without enough water, normal plant functions are disturbed, and the plant gradually wilts, stops growing, and dies. Plants are most susceptible to damage from water deficiency during the vegetative and reproductive stages of growth. Also, many plants are most sensitive to salinity during the germination and seedling growth stages.

Most of the water that enters the plant roots does not stay in the plant. Less than 1% of the water withdrawn by the plant is actually used in photosynthesis (i.e. assimilated by the plant). The rest of the water moves to the leaf surfaces where it transpires (evaporates) to the atmosphere. The rate at which a plant takes up water is controlled by its physical characteristics, the atmosphere and soil environment.

As water moves from the soil, into the roots, through the stem, into the leaves and through the leaf stomata to the air, it moves from a low water tension to a high water tension. The water tension in the air is related to its relative humidity and is always greater than the water tension in the soil.

Plants can extract only the soil water that is in contact with their roots. For most agronomic crops, the root distribution in a deep uniform soil is concentrated near the soil surface. Over the course of a growing season, plants generally extract more water from the upper part of their root zone than from the lower part.

Plants such as grasses, with a high root density per unit of soil volume, may be able to absorb all available soil water. Other plants, such as vegetables, with a low root density, may not be able to obtain as much water from an equal volume of the same soil. Vegetables are generally more sensitive to water stress than high root density agronomic crops such as alfalfa, corn, wheat and sunflower.


Organic matter influence The organic matter content of a soil is determined by climate, soil type and land use management (Feller, 1994; Feller & Beare, 1997). This relationship is probably best known for temperate agricultural soils where aggregation depends on the quantity and mineralogy of clay (Feller & Beare, 1997). This fact is shown clearly in the studies of Douglas and Goss (1982) where increasingly higher quantities of

C were required to achieve the same level of aggregate stability in soils of increasing clay content (16-49% clay).

By comparison, the agricultural systems of developed countries, where exogenous inputs (fertilizers etc.) are high and the recycling of organic resources is often greater (e.g. crop residues, manures, etc.) allow for better maintenance and/or restoration of the soil resource (Sanchez et al. 1997). Successful tropical soil fertility recapitalization depends on adopting measures that: 1. Improve the efficiency of soil resource utilisation and, thereby, minimize (slow) soil degradation 2. Provide compensation for the resources removed in plant and animal products or lost to the wider environment (e.g. leaching, gaseous emissions, erosion), and 3. Include restorative phases in the land use rotations.

Most tropical agricultural practices involve few external inputs and, therefore, rely heavily on the mineral and organic properties of soils to sustain plant production. As a result, soil organic matter management (SOM) is an important tool for soil fertility recapitalization. Furthermore, the dynamics of SOM are in dissociable from soil biological activity, as SOM is the primary source of energy and nutrients for soil biota and soil biota are responsible for the transformations that regulate SOM storage. One of the important mechanisms by which soil biota influence SOM storage is through the formation and stabilization of soil aggregates. The size, quantity and stability of aggregates recovered from soil reflects an environmental conditioning that includes factors which enhance the aggregation of soil (e.g. wet-dry cycles,

organic matter amendments) and those that cause disaggregation ( eg. cultivation, bioturbation) (Beare and Bruce, 1993). The measurement of soil aggregates depends on both the forces that bind particles together and the nature and magnitude of the disruptive forces applied. Soil aggregation influences the susceptibility of soil to erosion, organic matter storage, soil aeration, water infiltration and mineral plant supply. Many studies have shown the effects of organic constituents on the amount and stability of soil aggregates. However, understanding the role that soil aggregation plays in fertility recapitalization also requires a knowledge of how aggregation contributes to organic matter storage in soil. Both processes are mediated by soil biological activity.

The nature of aggregate-associated SOM Efforts to describe the quality and quantity of aggregate-associated organic matter stem from two particular interests: 1) understanding the importance of organic matter constituents for determining the structural stability of aggregates and 2) identifying the mechanisms by which the aggregation of particles contributes to the physical protection and storage of SOM. In each case there is a need to carefully define the size and stability of aggregates using methods that are both quantitative and reproducible (Beare and Bruce, 1993). In contrast to the relatively well-described relationship between bulk soil organic matter and aggregate stability, there are conflicting results regarding the relationship between aggregate size-classes and SOM constituents. Considering differences in the mineral and organic components of aggregate size-classes may be critical to interpreting the results obtained. Elliott et al. (1991) corrected for both the sand and light-fraction material in aggregate size-classes collected from a chronosequence of tropical Peruvian Ultisols under cultivation.

Bioavailability of aggregate-associated organic matter The bioavailability and storage of aggregate-associated organic matter has important implications for soil fertility recapitalisation. The influence of aggregation on the protection of organic matter from microbial attack has been studied by comparing results obtained before and after disaggregation of soil. A number of studies have demonstrated the importance that physical protection mechanisms for organic matter storage in soils (Ladd et al., 1993; Elliott 1986; Feller et al., 1996). Several studies (e.g. Elliott, 1986, Gupta and Germida, 1988) have shown that from 15 to 45% of the N that is mineralisable from macro aggregates of native sods is protected from microbial attack within the intact structure of macro aggregates. Other research has focused on separating and characterising of free and occluded (aggregate associated) particulate organic matter in soils (Golchin et al., 1994b; Puget et al., 1997).


The maintenance of water-stability of soil aggregates bound by different chemical binding agents produced in situ by pure cultures of microorganisms and by an indigenous soil micro flora was assessed by wet-sieve analysis.

A teaspoonful of soil may contain billions of living organisms. On them crop growth, soil fertility, and even soil development depend in many ways.

Among the soil's inhabitants are specialists that rot organic matter, transform nitrogen, build soil filth, produce antibiotics, and otherwise affect plant welfare.

Bacteria are the smallest and the most numerous of the free-living organisms in the soil. About 25 thousand of them measure an inch. Despite their minute size, their total weight in the top foot of an acre of fertile soil may be as much as a thousand pounds, or 0.03 percent of the weight of the soil. Poor soils and some sandy soils may harbor few bacteria.

The bacteria are little more than tiny blobs of jellylike protoplasm enclosed in a cell membrane. Most of them subsist on waste organic materials.

Those that derive both their cell carbon and their energy from organic substances are called heterotrophic bacteria. They use energy previously stored by other microbes or by higher plants. Their metabolism or ability to carry on such life processes as oxidizing sugar to carbon dioxide and water is like that of the higher animals, all of which depend on the energy stored in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

A few bacteria possess pigments that enable them to trap the energy in light. They obtain their cell carbon directly from the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere. Green plants similarly possess this photosynthetic ability.

Still other bacteria, called autotrophic or chemosynthetic, draw upon the atmosphere for their carbon supply and obtain their energy by oxidizing relatively simple chemical materials. In this group are bacteria that oxidize carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, sulfur to sulfates, hydrogen to water, ammonia to nitrous acid, and nitrous acid to nitric acid.

Most soil bacteria require nitrogen that previously has been combined either into mineral forms (such as ammonium and nitrate) or into organic nitrogen compounds (such as plant proteins and animal proteins).

Only a limited number of micro-organisms are able to make use of nitrogen gas as it commonly occurs in the air. Among the soil bacteria that can do so are the legume-nodule bacteria, or rhizobia, which use nitrogen from the air in partnership with leguminous host plants. The nitrogen taken from the atmosphere is available to both partners. Consequently legumes can be grown on soil that is poor in nitrogen but otherwise is favorable.

The amount of nitrogen fixed by nodulated legumes varies greatly, but the average is estimated to be 50 to 150 pounds of nitrogen an acre each year.

The right kind of legume bacteria must be present for each legume plant. If the legume is native to an area or has been grown for several years on the soil, the correct bacteria usually have become established. But for newly introduced legumes, for soils in which the correct rhizobia do not survive during the intervals between crops, and for soils in which there are only weak or parasitic strains of nodule bacteria, inoculation of the legume seed at planting time with nitrogenfixing bacteria is desirable or necessary.

Packaged inoculants containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria are available at many seed stores. Because the inoculants are prepared for specific legumes or groups of legumes, the names of which are printed on the package, the purchaser needs only to specify to the dealer the legume seed he wishes to treat. Inoculant labeled as effective on one legume, such as soybeans, is not at all suitable for other legumes, such as clovers or garden peas.

Legume inoculant sufficient to treat a bushel of seed costs 15 to 55 cents, depending on the type of seed and the amount of inoculant purchased.

Directions on the package should be followed as closely as possible. The user should plant the inoculated seed within a very few hours after he treats them. Meanwhile the seeds should not be exposed to heat, drying, or sunlight. He should not purchase or use inoculant that is older than the expiration date stamped on the label.

Gardeners or farmers who have highly fertile soils or who apply liberal quantities of nitrogenous fertilizer can expect little or no additional benefit from legume inoculants. Commercial operators or farmers who grow large acreages of legumes commonly consider seed inoculation to be a desirable procedure and one that entails little extra cost.

The use of inoculant insures that the legume seedlings will be exposed to the right kind of nitrogen-fixing bacteria early in the growing season.

There also exist in the soil free-living, or non symbiotic, forms of bacteria, such as Azotobacter, that can use atmospheric nitrogen. These types occur in relatively small numbers. Their effect on fertility has been questioned. Increases of 50 pounds of nitrogen an acre a year have been attributed to Azotobacter. Some persons say non leguminous crops and even compost piles should be inoculated with these bacteria, but we have little evidence that such inoculation is economically sound.

Some of the pigmented bacteria that are capable of photosynthesis also can use atmospheric nitrogen. They exist mostly in stagnant water and mud. They are believed to be of little importance in the nitrogen fertility of ordinary field soil.

Soil bacteria are not distributed uniformly through the soil. They commonly occur in clumps or colonies of few to thousands of individual cells.

Because bacteria depend largely on organic matter for their food, they occur most abundantly near organic residues. The upper layers of the soil profile are enriched almost continuously by plant wastes, and they contain many more bacteria than the deeper layers do. Even within the plow layer, islands of activity can be expected wherever food material exists.

Soil biota and soil aggregation It is important to note that physical controls on the storage and loss of organic matter can not be viewed in isolation from biological influences. Soil biota are clearly important in mediating physical changes in soil structure that may alter the storage and transformations of SOM. Biological constituents ranging from roots and fungi to micro arthropods and earthworms can influence the formation and stabilization of soil aggregates. For example, several studies (e.g. Martin, 1992; Lavelle and Martin, 1992) have shown that earthworm casts store and protect on the order of 20% more organic C than non-ingested soils. This was attributed to the higher C content and stability of the earthworm casts as compared to mineral soil (Blanchart, 1992; Blanchart et al., 1993). Other organism may also contribute to the physical protection of organic matter through their influence on soil aggregation. For example, Beare et al. (1997) indicated that fungal hyphae were responsible for about 40% of the macro aggregation (>2000 um) and significantly greater retention of soil organic matter in soils under no-tillage management but a much lesser role in conventionally tilled soils. Some examples of biological influences (positives or otherwise) on soil aggregation and the mechanisms involved are given in Table 1. Soil microbial biomass appears to be a relatively poor indicator of aggregation. Indeed, soil microorganisms may have a spatially heterogeneous influence on soil aggregation through the

localized production and deposition of organic matter binding agents. For example, plants with a ramified and fine root structure (Degens, 1997) and a high production of exudates, produce aggregates in the rhizosphere, with consequences for structural stability in the root that may influence the rooting zone of subsequent crops.

CHAPTER THREE MATERIAL AND METHOD Material Two soils of contracting properties were used that is, ltagunmodi series and Apomu series. The two soils samples were collected from different locations within Obafemi Awolowo University Campus in ile-ife, osun state, Nigeria. Soil sample I which is the ltagunmodi series (clay) were collected near the school main gate (road one before getting to the security post), under cultivated condition with the use of auger. The soil is well-drained, very fine textured soil of uniform brownish red or dark chocolate brown colour, the depth is of 0-15cm with a textural class of 45% or more clay, <45% sand and 40% silt which derived from amphibolites related to basic rock (Smith and Montgomery). Soil sample II which is Apomu series (sand) were collected from teaching and research farm (after farm dam) at latitude 7 degree 25 north, longitude 4 degree 39 East under uncultivated condition with the use of auger. The soil is light in colour and has a depth of 0-15cm, with a textural class of 80% or more sand and one and half times percentage of clay not exceeding 15.It was derived from colluviums (i.e. material transported by gravity) and alluvium (material transported by water).The topsoil of each soil sample I & II were air-dried for one week. There are several/different methods to evaluate or determine or assess soil aggregate stability, they are as follows; .Rain drop techniques . Wet-sieving method.

. Dispersion ratio method. . Emerson test. I used raindrop techniques and apparatus used are; weighing balance burette, retort stand, small plastic cups and 10-mesh sieve (2mm in diameter).

METHOD RAINDROP TECHNIQUES The stability of the aggregate was determined by Raindrop Technique and single water-drop simulator was designed, fabricated and calibrated for determining stability of natural soil aggregate. The dry stable aggregate (from different land uses) of size 1-2, 2-4, 4-6, 6-8mm were subjected to raindrop impact on a sand bath and the number of drops used to completely disperse an aggregate were recorded. The total kinetic energy of the falling raindrop used for complete dispersion of the aggregate was expressed on per gram basis of the soil to calculate the stability.SISRT1/4=1/2MV. Where N is the number of drops used to complete disrupt the aggregate on per gram of soil basis, and M is the mass of the single water-drop of respective size and V is the terminal velocity of the respective water-drop. The apparatus consisted of a 50.00cm burette mounted on the retort stand such that it could be raised or lowered to control the height of water fall and hence the velocity of drop impact. The height of fall ranges from 0.25m to 1.5m of water was poured into the burette and the burette was constantly adjusted to maintain a constant drop rate.

Each weighted aggregate was placed on a 10-mesh sieve at a required height below the tip of the burette. For each weighted of aggregate size, experiment are done repeatedly for the same height which is one meter (1m) for four different sizes aggregate. The time taken for the water fall, the number of drops and the total volume used (read on calibrated burette) require for the completion of the aggregate were recorded, and three replicate was done.

CALCULATION 20drops = 2ml

20 drops of water under the same condition give rise to 2ml 20 drops 1 drop i. 2ml 0.1ml

To calculate the mass of each drop Density Mass = = mass/volume density x volume 1g/cm3 1g/cm3 x 0.1ml 0.1g

Density of water = Mass = = ii.

To calculate the time taken for each drop of water at a height of 1m It took 60s for 100 drops 1 drop = = Work done K.E m v Velocity 60/100 0.6s = = = = = = Work done = iii. To calculate the work done by each stimulated rain drop

Kinetic energy of each drop 1/2mv2 0.1g ? distance/time = 1.67m/s 1/2mv2 = 1/2x0.1x1.672 = 0.139445J 1m/0.6s

Energy = =

Work done/time (for a single drop) 0.139445J/0.6s = 0.2324J/s


RESULT AND DISCUSSION From this experiment, a large amount of data was generated and for each series of 3 replicates for each soil type experiments. Volume of drops (cm3), Weight of each aggregate, Number of drops, Height of fall (Meter), Time taken for drops to break aggregate. The summary of the whole data obtained is shown in Table 1 for Apomu Series and Table 2 for Itagunmodi Series, weights of aggregate, replicates and the energy

Table 4.1

Apomu Series Replicate 1st Energy 6.97J 9.064J 9.48J 14.22J

Weight of Aggregate 2g 4g 6g 8g

2g 4g 6g 8g

2nd 3rd

6.693J 8.785J 9.343J 13.94J

2g 4g 6g 8g

6.972J 9.343J 10.04J 14.36J

Table 4.2: Itagunmodi Series Weight of Aggregate 2g 4g 6g 8g Replicate 1st Energy 36.25J 167.3J 315.1J 457.8J

2g 4g 6g 8g

2nd 3rd

36.67J 169.0J 325.8J 471.0J

2g 4g 6g 8g

39.04J 171.9J 310.5J 460.4J

Table 4.3 Mean square values derived from an analysis of variance of two soils series for energy level. SOURCE Average weight Replication/Rep Soil Error Total CV%
Energy significant at <0.01**

Df 3 2 1 17 23

Energy 52411.66** 21.18 336433.60*** 8695.06


Table 4.4 Weight of aggregate 2 4 6 8 Energy

89.23 163.38 238.62

Table 4.5 Soil A(Itagunmodi) B(Apomu) Energy


The energy of weight is significant at < 0.01**and soil of both series are significant at <0.0001**** Implication 1. Signficance of weight is that at weight relative to each other, there is a difference in the energy level possessed by the two soil series. 2. Soil of both series are highly significant which tells us that there is a great difference in the energy composition and stability of both soil series. Impact of fall height on aggregate stability The higher the fall height, the stronger the effect of raindrop on aggregate of a given size and the more liable to erosion of the soil. Therefore, weight and number of drop increases as the fall height increases and the stability of aggregate decreases due to increasing impact of raindrop.The three replicates are energy dependent. Thus, to breakdown aggregate of a given size, more energy of drops is required as the fall height increases. Therefore, the energy of raindrops to breakdown any given aggregate size increases as the height of raindrops increases. Energy is one of the notable characteristics of raindrop and thus the intensity in which aggregate are been broken down as precursor to soil erosion increases with increasing in energy of rain drop. Effect of aggregate Size Table1, i.e. Apomu series shows that the effect of aggregate size on the time required for breakdown of aggregate and volume, weight and number of drops needed for this. The aggregate size ranges from 2grams to 8 grams in increasing order. The value required to breakdown aggregates with size ranging from 2g, 4g and 6g is not really significant. That is they can easily

be dispersed by raindrop and carried by runoff water thus resulting to soil erosion, while in that of 8g which is significantly different which will require higher quantity of raindrop and time taken for its dispersal. Table 2, i.e. Itagunmodi series there is a wide range of time required for breakdown of aggregate and volume, weight and number of drops needed for this. The aggregate size also ranges from 2g to 8 g in increasing order. Each aggregate require huge volume of raindrop for its dispersal, most especially in aggregate 4g, 6g and 8g.They are stable to raindrop impact and this may be due to the chemical and physical binding properties within the aggregates. Effect of Energy on soil type The soil type bears dried relationship with the energy. The soil of high bulk density requires more energy for total disintegration compared to the soil of low bulk density. For instance, Itagunmodi series requires more energy than Apomu series because it is more compacted and contained high bulk density. Effect of Energy on the soil mass This can be seen through the table that the energy increase as the mass of the soil increases. For instance, 11.62 J/s Energy is required to breakdown 2g of Apomu series, also, 15.106 J/s Energy is required to breakdown 4g of Apomu series. This increase as the mass increases. This is to show that the energy required bears a dried relationship with the soil mass.

CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION The study was to show the characteristics of raindrop impact that describes soil aggregate breakdown under rainfall and to see the most important mechanisms involved in this breakdown process. A single drop of rainfall simulator was constructed to produce the raindrops required to breakdown any given size of soil aggregate from a predetermined height. Each characteristic of raindrops were noted. The experiment shows that energy of raindrop impact is the most important variable in describing time to breakdown the aggregate. The volume, number and weight of drops involved in impact are important in aggregate breakdown and explained slaking rather than chemical reduction in bonding forces as mechanism of breakdown. Though, they do not prelude chemical process from having any effect. The more the weight of aggregate, the more energy level expected. Whereby weight of aggregate level eight (8) had the highest mean energy of 238.62J and the least weight of aggregate(2) had the lowest mean energy level of 22.10J.From the mean values of the two soils series relative to each other, it is observed that Apomu soil series had lowest mean energy level of 9.93J compared to a far higher energy level of Itagunmodi soil series of 246.73J and this large difference in energy level can be due to some factors which are soil type, climate, organic matter retention ,soil disturbance and so on.The fall height of raindrops is thus an important factor in aggregate breakdown. If the droplets are first intercepted by a cover crop before falling on the soil, it will not have much impact on the aggregate like those falling from a greater height without intercept will make the most impact. The time required in the breaking down of aggregate of Itagunmodi series is greater than that of Apomu series.

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The SAS System 1 The ANOVA Procedure Class Level Information Class Agg_Wt Replicates soil Levels 4 3 2 Values 2 4 6 8 1 2 3

21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

Apomu Itagunmodi 24 21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

Number of observations The SAS System 2 The ANOVA Procedure Dependent Variable: Energy Source Model Error Corrected Total R-Square 0.524597 Source Replicates soil 3 The ANOVA Procedure DF 3 20 23 Sum of Squares 336656.0063 305085.5720 641741.5782 Root MSE 123.5082

Mean Square 112218.6688 15254.2786

F Value 7.36

Pr > F 0.0016

Coeff Var 96.25204 DF 2 1

Energy Mean 128.3175 F Value 0.00 22.07 Pr > F 0.9987 0.0001

Anova SS 40.0487 336615.9576 The SAS System

Mean Square 20.0243 336615.9576

21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

Duncan's Multiple Range Test for Energy NOTE: This test controls the Type I comparison wise error rate, not the experiment wise error rate. Alpha 0.05 Error Degrees of Freedom 20 Error Mean Square 15254.28 Number of Means 2

Critical Range


Means with the same letter are not significantly different. Duncan Grouping A B 4 ------------------------------------------- Soil=Apomu -----------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Class Level Information Class Agg_Wt Replicates Soil Levels 4 3 1 Values 2 4 6 8 1 2 3 Apomu 12 21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012 Mean 246.75 9.89 N 12 12 soil Itagunmodi Apomu 21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

The SAS System

Number of observations The SAS System 5

------------------------------------------- Soil=Apomu -----------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Dependent Variable: Energy Source Model Error Corrected Total R-Square 0.996679 Source Replicates Agg_Wt 6 ------------------------------------------- Soil=Apomu -----------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Duncan's Multiple Range Test for Energy NOTE:This test controls the Type I comparison wise error rate,not the experiment wise error rate. DF 5 6 11 Sum of Squares 85.74135833 0.28566667 86.02702500 Root MSE 0.218200 Energy Mean 9.887500 F Value 8.33 594.73 Pr > F 0.0186 <.0001 Mean Square 17.14827167 0.04761111 F Value 360.17 Pr > F <.0001

Coeff Var 2.206824 DF 2 3

Anova SS 0.79340000 84.94795833 The SAS System

Mean Square 0.39670000 28.31598611

21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

Alpha 0.05 Error Degrees of Freedom 6 Error Mean Square 0.047611

Number of Means Critical Range

2 .4359

3 .4518

4 .4597

Means with the same letter are not significantly different. Duncan Grouping A B B B C 7 ----------------------------------------- Soil=Itagunmodi --------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Class Level Information Class Agg_Wt Replicates soil Levels 4 3 1 Values 2 4 6 8 1 2 3 Itagunmodi 12 21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012 Mean 14.1733 9.4367 9.0633 6.8767 N 3 3 3 3 Agg_Wt 8 6 4 2 21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

The SAS System

Number of observations The SAS System 8

----------------------------------------- Soil=Itagunmodi --------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Dependent Variable: Energy Source Model Error Corrected Total R-Square 0.999536 Source DF 5 6 11 Sum of Squares 304897.9913 141.6023 305039.5936 Root MSE 4.858023 Energy Mean 246.7475 F Value Pr > F Mean Square 60979.5983 23.6004 F Value 2583.84 Pr > F <.0001

Coeff Var 1.968824 DF

Anova SS

Mean Square

Replicates Agg_Wt

2 3

93.5335 304804.4578 The SAS System

46.7667 101601.4859

1.98 4305.08

0.2184 <.0001

21:34 Monday, February 1, 2012

9 ----------------------------------------- Soil=Itagunmodi --------------------------------------The ANOVA Procedure Duncan's Multiple Range Test for Energy NOTE: This test controls the Type I comparison wise error rate, not the experiment wise error rate. Alpha 0.05 Error Degrees of Freedom 6 Error Mean Square 23.60039 Number of Means Critical Range 2 9.71 3 10.06 4 10.23

Means with the same letter are not significantly different. Duncan Grouping A B C D Mean 463.100 317.143 169.423 37.323 N 3 3 3 3 Agg_Wt 8 6 4 2

Bar chart showing the result of Table 4.4

Bar chart showing the result of Table 4.5