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The effect of catch crops on sulphate leaching and availibility of S in the succeeding crop on sandy loam soil in Denmark

Eriksen, J and Thorup-Kristensen, K (2002) The effect of catch crops on sulphate leaching and availibility of S in the succeeding crop on sandy loam soil in Denmark. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 90, pp. 247-254.

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Sulphate leaching losses may reduce the long-term possibility of maintaining the S supply of crops in low input farming systems. The ability of catch crops (Italian ryegrass [Lolium multiflorum Lam], winter rape [Brassica napus L.] and fodder radish [Raphanus sativus L.]) to reduce soil sulphate concentrations in autumn and make it available to a succeeding crop was investigated in 1996-98 on sandy loam soil in Denmark. All catch crops reduced soil sulphate concentrations in the autumn compared to bare soil. Especially the cruciferous catch crops had the ability to deplete efficiently soil sulphate levels and thus, reduce the sulphate leaching potential. The S uptake in aboveground catch crop was 8, 22 and 36 kg S ha-1 for ryegrass, winter rape and fodder radish, respectively. In the following spring, sulphate levels of the autumn bare soil were low in the top 0.5 m and a peak of sulphate was found at 0.75-1 m depth. In contrast, where a fodder radish catch crop had been grown, high sulphate levels were present in the top 0.5 m but only small amounts of sulphate were found at 0.5-1.5 m depth. In spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), that followed catch crops, S concentrations at heading and maturity revealed that the availability of soil S increased following winter rape and fodder radish, whereas there were indications that following ryegrass, the S availability was reduced compared to bare soil. This initial study showed that catch crops have a high potential for reducing sulphate leaching and may be used to synchronise S availability with plant demand in a crop rotation.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > I.10 (VegCatch) Organic vegetable cultivation methods and use of catch crops
Deposited By: Eriksen, Professor Jørgen
ID Code:168
Deposited On:11 Oct 2002
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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