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John Bechtold

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

E.M White


South Dakota grasslands have some soils with a dense claypan layer at or near the soil surface that reduces water infiltration and restricts root growth. Claypan layers have unique physical and chemical properties that reduce forage production. Improvement of the claypan characteristics has long been considered a viable management practice. Areas containing claypan soils often have dense vegetation interspersed with barren areas having little or no vegetation. They are often called “panspot” soils because of this patchy effect. This research was part of a long-term study of the effects of mechanical soil treatments on improving and stabilizing range production. The primary objective of the long-term study was to inventory and describe cost-effective mechanical treatments for improving productivity of claypan range sites. Two different claypan soils were identified, and various implements were used to apply the treatments in the fall of 1978. Mechanical treatments varied from minimal soil disturbances (ripping and chiseling) to maximum disturbance (contour furrowing). Analysis of selected soil characteristics in the sixth growing season after mechanical treatments were imposed, was the principal objective of the study reported herein.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Claypan soils -- South Dakota
Range management
Conservation tillage
Soil chemistry



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University