Hernán Sainz Rozas, Marino Puricelli, Mercedes Eyherabide, Pablo A. Barbieri, Hernán E. Echeverría, Nahuel I. Reussi Calvo, Juan P. Martínez
Agronomy Department, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA)–Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar de Plata (FCA-UNMdP), PO Box , Balcarce, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Laboratorio Ferilab, Mar del Plata, Argentina
Key words: Soils, Fertility, Micronutrients
Adequate grain zinc (Zn) concentration is important because of its influence on human health. The Argentina Pampas region (APR) provides between 86% and 90% of total grain exports by the country. Soils of the Argentina Pampas region had high fertility under pristine condition but intensification of agriculture, increasing grain yields, and poor or no Zn fertilization could reduce soil available Zn. The objectives of this work were to determine the distribution of available Zn in agricultural and pristine soils of the Argentina Pampas region and its relationship with some chemical characteristics. Soil samples (0-20 cm depth) were collected and georeferenced (approximately 550 for each condition), and soil organic matter, pH, extractable phosphorus, cation exchange capacity, and available Zn by extraction with diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA-Zn) were measured. For geostatistical analysis, indicator kriging (non-parametric method) was utilized as interpolation method. Agriculture decreased soil organic matter, pH, extractable phosphorus and DTPA-Zn (26.9, 4.6, 57.8 and 69.5%, respectively). Relative decrease of DTPA-Zn was only significantly associated with the relative decrease of soil organic matter, although this association was low (r=0.41). Regionally, the DTPA-Zn distribution was very heterogeneous and soil organic matter, pH, extractable phosphorus and cation exchange capacity did not adequately predicted soil DTPA-Zn concentrations (r2=0.16 to 0.26). Agricultural soils of northern, northwestern and southwestern APR (approximately 12,150,000 ha) showed DTPA-Zn values below 1 mg kg-1, and therefore would present some degree of Zn deficiency for sensitive crops.