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SOIL An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2016-79
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Original research article
15 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.
Estimating hydraulic conductivity of a crusted loamy soil from beerkan experiments in a Mediterranean vineyard
Vincenzo Alagna1, Vincenzo Bagarello1, Simone Di Prima2, Fabio Guaitoli3, Massimo Iovino1, Saskia Keesstra4,5, and Artemio Cerdà4,6 1Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2Agricultural Department, University of Sassari, Viale Italia, 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
3Assessorato regionale dell'Agricoltura, dello Sviluppo Rurale e della Pesca Mediterranea, UO S5.05, Viale Regione Siciliana 2771, 90145 Palermo, Italy
4Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
5Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
6Department of Geography, University of Valencia, Blasco Ibáñez, 28, 46010 València, Spain
Abstract. In bare soils of semi-arid areas, surface crusting is a rather common phenomenon due to the impact of raindrops. Water infiltration measurements under ponding conditions constitute a common way for an approximate characterization of crusted soils. In this study, the impact of crusting on soil hydraulic conductivity was assessed in a Mediterranean vineyard (western Sicily, Italy) under conventional tillage. The BEST (Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters) algorithm was applied to the infiltration data to obtain the hydraulic conductivity of crusted and uncrusted soils. Soil hydraulic conductivity was found to vary during the year and also spatially (i.e., rows vs. inter-rows) due to crusting, tillage and vegetation cover. A 55 mm rainfall event resulted in a decrease of the saturated soil hydraulic conductivity, Ks, by a factor close to two in the inter-row areas, due to the formation of a crusted layer at the surface. The same rainfall event did not determine a Ks reduction in the row areas (i.e., Ks reduced by a non-significant factor of 1.05) because the vegetation cover intercepted the raindrops and therefore prevented alteration of the soil surface. The developed ring insertion methodology on crusted soil, implying pre-moistening through the periphery of the sampled surface, together with the very small insertion depth of the ring (0.01 m) prevented visible fractures. Consequently, beerkan tests carried out along and between the vine-rows and data analysis by the BEST algorithm allowed to assess crusting-dependent reductions in hydraulic conductivity with extemporaneous measurements alone. Testing the beerkan infiltration run in other crusted soils and establishing comparisons with other experimental methodologies appear advisable to increase confidence on the reliability of the method, that seems suitable to allow simple characterization of crusted soils.

Citation: Alagna, V., Bagarello, V., Di Prima, S., Guaitoli, F., Iovino, M., Keesstra, S., and Cerdà, A.: Estimating hydraulic conductivity of a crusted loamy soil from beerkan experiments in a Mediterranean vineyard, SOIL Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2016-79, 2017.
Vincenzo Alagna et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
 
SC1: 'review', Gerd WESSOLEK, 12 Apr 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
AC1: 'reply:G. Wessolek', Simone Di Prima, 19 Apr 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC1: 'hydraulic properties of crusted soil estimated with the beercan method', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 May 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
EC1: 'review', Kristof Van Oost, 23 May 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
Vincenzo Alagna et al.
Vincenzo Alagna et al.

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Short summary
Beerkan infiltration tests along with BEST (Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters) algorithm led to accurate estimates of the hydraulic conductivity in both crusted and un-crusted soils. A sampling strategy implying beerkan tests carried out along and between the vine-rows allowed to assess the reduction in hydraulic conductivity with extemporaneous measurements alone. The effect of the cycling occurrence of crusting due to rainfalls and wetting–drying cycles on the vineyard inter-row.
Beerkan infiltration tests along with BEST (Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters)...
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