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Benefits of winter cover crops and no-tillage for microbial parameters in a Brazilian Oxisol: A long-term study.

BALOTA, E.L.; CALEGARI, A.; NAKATINI , A.S. and COYNE, M.S. (2014) Benefits of winter cover crops and no-tillage for microbial parameters in a Brazilian Oxisol: A long-term study. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 197, pp. 31-40.

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Document available online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880914003703


Soil degradation in Brazil is a concern due to intensive agricultural production. Combining conservation practice, such as no-tillage, with winter cover crops may increase microbial activity and enhance soil quality more than either practice alone. This research evaluated the benefits of long-term (23 years) winter cover crops and reduced tillage on soil microbial quality indicators in an Oxisol from Paraná State, Southern Brazil. The winter cover treatments were: fallow, black oat, wheat, radish, blue lupin, and hairy vetch in conventional (plow) or no-tillage management; the summer crop was a soybean/maize rotation. Soil quality parameters included organic C, microbial biomass C and N, total and labile polysaccharide, easily extractable and total glomalin-related soil protein, and enzyme activity. Winter crops increased soil microbial quality parameters compared to fallow in both tillage systems, with greater relative
increase in conventional than no-tillage. No-tillage had higher microbial biomass, polysaccharide, glomalin-related soil protein, and soil enzyme activity than conventional tillage. Including legumes in the crop rotation was important for N balance in the soil–plant system, increasing soil organic C content, and enhancing soil quality parameters to a greater extent than grasses or radish. The microbial parameters proved to be more sensitive indicators of soil change than soil organic C. Cultivating winter cover crop with either tillage is a beneficial practice enhancing soil microbial quality and also soil organic C stocks.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Brazil
Brazil > Other organizations
European Union > OSCAR
Horizon Europe or H2020 Grant Agreement Number:289277
ID Code:29930
Deposited On:10 Apr 2016 09:25
Last Modified:10 Apr 2016 09:25
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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