INFLUENCE OF SOIL COMPACTION LEVELS ON COWPEA PRODUCTION
Cowpea, a short-cycle legume with large production in the North and Northeast regions, has its productive potential limited by edaphic characteristics and degradation processes of soil physical quality, such as compaction. This process may interfere with plant development and productivity by restricting root system growth, aeration, water and nutrient availability. The objective of this work was to analyze the interference of different levels of compaction in the soil physical characteristics, root growth, development of the aerial part and productivity of cowpea. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse following a completely randomized design with a control (control) and four levels of soil compaction, with four replications. Each experimental unit was composed of PVC tubes composed of a 0.05-m layer of gravel, cotton fabric and a 0.04-m layer of soil. The different levels of compaction were obtained using a proctor socket and a wooden base. Based on the value of penetration resistance (PR) of 1.00 MPa, soil reached the macroporosity considered as critical theresohold for soil aeration. Results indicate that the higher the PR of the soil, the lower the development of the root system and the aerial part. The productive aspects of cowpea presented better results in plants grown in soils with a level of resistance to penetration close to 0.8 MPa.