Effect of cover crop management on soil organic matter

  • Published source details Ding G., Liu X., Herbert S., Novak J., Amarasiriwardena D. & Xing B. (2006) Effect of cover crop management on soil organic matter. Geoderma, 130, 229-239.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Grow cover crops when the field is empty

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Grow cover crops when the field is empty

    A controlled, randomized, replicated experiment in 2005 on  fine sandy loam  in Massachusetts, USA (Ding et al. 2006) found higher soil organic carbon and nitrogen levels under vetch Vicia villosa/rye Secale cereale cover crops (14.1 kg C/m3 soil and 1.7 kg N/m3) or rye cover alone (15 kg C/m3 soil and 1.7 kg N/m3), compared to soil with no cover crop (12.2 kg C/m3 soil and 1.4 kg N/m3 soil respectively), regardless of nitrogen fertilizer rate. There were three cover crop treatments, including: vetch /rye, rye alone, no cover crops (control). Each 3 × 7.5 m replicate was treated with nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of 0, 67, 135 or 202 kg N/ha. There were four replicates. Plots were seeded in September and cut at the end of May.  The main crop corn Zea mays was seeded in June and harvested in August.


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