Subsoiling improves soil physical properties and increases productivity in a maize farmland in Southern China
A two-year field experiment was conducted to assess the influence of subsoiling (SS), two passes of rotary tillage (2RT), two passes of rotary tillage + subsoiling (2RTSS), and zero tillage (ZT) on soil physical properties and maize grain yield in Latosolic red soil of Southern China in a randomized complete block design with three repeats. Results showed that, SS recorded lowest soil bulk density (1.41 g cm-3), soil penetration resistance (1.81 MPa), soil gravimetric water content (29.12%), and volumetric water content (29.95%), resulting in highest soil porosity (47.36%) at 0-40 cm soil depth. Highest plant, ear height, ear length, ear weight, number of rows per ear, and number of grains per row were observed under SS. Also, maximum grain yield 7.37 ton ha-1 (9.81%), dry matter, harvest index, and 1000-grain weight were recorded under SS. Overall, SS improved soil physical properties and facilitated highest maize yield and yield components, and therefore, SS could be adopted as a strategy for higher productivity leading to a sustainable agricultural system under the changing climatic conditions.