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The physical properties of the soil are limiting factors for coffee cultivation and yields. Therefore, we analyzed spatial variability in the physical properties of a clayey Oxisol under coffee cultivation. The experiment was carried out on 14-hectares of a coffee (Coffea arabica) plantation in the city of Monte Carmelo, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Soil samples were collected from two layers (0 - 0.1 m and 0.1 - 0.2 m) at 61 grid-points spaced at 50 x 50 meters. These samples were saturated to determine total porosity and soil bulk density. Soil resistance readings were also taken from the same grid points and layers using an impact penetrometer. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate all variables. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model spatial variability within the soil physical properties. Variographic analysis was performed using semivariograms. We found that density, total porosity and soil resistance to penetration varied throughout the study area, which demonstrates that management type can alter soil physical properties and that maps generated by geostatistics can help coffee growers make decisions related to soil management.
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