Soil temperature is recognised as one of the most important factors in crop production. Some degree of manual control of soil temperature is possible through regulation of soil surface cover. The effect of eight mulch treatments ( rice husk, rice husk incorporated, paddy straw, saw dust, water mulch, transparent polyethylene, black polyethylene and bare) on the soil temperature during various growth phases of peanut crop (Arachis hypogaea L.) were investigated on a lateritic sandy loam soil (ultisols). These experiments were conducted for two consecutive seasons. Plastic mulches raised the temperature upto 5 0C generally during afternoon whereas vegetative mulches depressed the same. Between the plastic mulches, black polyethylene covered field recorded lower soil temperature (upto 20 C) than the transparent one. Water mulches due to their high specific heat capacity acted as a heat sink during the day and heat source at night. The vegetative mulches suppressed the soil temperature and did not allow the radiant energy to contact the soil directly and emitted back the energy to the atmosphere. Among the vegetative mulches, rice husk and saw dust proved better than paddy straw and rice husk incorporated. The type and amount of soil cover which modify micro-climate and soil edaphic environment, may help to plan the farming practice for better crop growth and production.
Mulch, Peanut, Plastic mulch, Soil temperature, Vegetative mulch
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