Action

Action Synopsis: Soil Fertility About Actions

Incorporate leys into crop rotation

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    46%
  • Certainty
    45%
  • Harms
    36%

Source countries

Key messages

One replicated study from Denmark showed that reducing the extent of grass pasture in leys reduced the undesirable uptake of nitrogen by grasses, therefore requiring lower rates of fertilizer for subsequent crops.

SOIL TYPE COVERED: sandy-loam.

 

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated experiment from 1994 to 2006 on sandy-loam soil in Foulum, Denmark (Eriksen et al. 2008) found lower nitrogen uptake in 25% and 38% grassland leys than in a 75% grassland ley, therefore less fertilizer (average application 111 kg N/ha) was required to improve subsequent barley Hordeum vulgare crops, compared with after the 75% grassland ley (132 kg N/ha). Overall nitrogen uptake by perennial ryegrass was higher grown alone (126 kg N/ha), than in the perennial ryegrass-white clover Trifolium repens ley (109 kg N/ha) treatment.  Four replicates of two crop rotations (in 576 m2 plots) were established, including unfertilized ryegrass Lolium perenne-clover and fertilized (300 kg N/ha/y) ryegrass leys rotated with barley. Half of the barley plots were undersown with ryegrass. Each ley treatment was split into 25%, 38% and 75% grassland (remainder not specified). In 2002-2003, cattle slurry fertilizer was applied at three different rates: 0, 115 and 230 kg N/ha on 12 x 12 m plots. Up to 20 soil samples were taken periodically from each plot between 20-100 cm depth and soil carbon, nitrogen, nitrate and ammonium levels were measured.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Key, G., Whitfield, M., Dicks, L.V., Sutherland, W.J. & Bardgett, R.D. (2019) Enhancing Soil Fertility. Pages 627-648 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

 

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Soil Fertility

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Soil Fertility

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 17

Go to the CE Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust