Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cover Crops Reduce Erosion, Runoff

19.05.2010
Study finds benefits of cover crops in preventing soil erosion in the winter and the following year when compared to rough tillage

Cover crops may be more effective at reducing soil erosion and runoff after maize harvest than rough tillage, according to scientists from the Université Catholique de Louvain, in collaboration with the Independent Center for the Promotion of Forage (CIPF).

The three-year study, supervised by Charles Bielders and conducted by Eric Laloy, measured erosion and runoff losses from silt loam and sandy loam soils in continuous silage maize cropping. The research revealed that cover crops reduced erosion by more than 94% compared to bare soil during the intercropping period. Cover crops and reduced tillage appeared equally effective in reducing runoff and soil loss between cropping cycles, despite the fact that the cover crop development was very poor.

The results were reported in the May/June 2010 edition of the Journal of Environmental Quality, a publication of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

Since planting a cover crop is often more expensive than rough tillage, the preferred practice would seem to be rough tillage. However, burying sufficient cover crop biomass into the soil in the previous year reduced erosion rates 40 to 90% lower in the next year than maize grown on plots left bare during winter. This residual effect gives cover crops an advantage in erosion and runoff control compared to rough tillage.

According to Bielders, “For the residual effect to be observed, we estimate that at least 1.5 t ha-1 of cover crop biomass must be buried into the soil.” Smaller amounts of biomass were insufficient to demonstrate an effect. Two types of cover crop, rye and ryegrass, were studied, but there were no differences between the two.

“The more cover crop biomass is buried, the stronger the erosion reduction during the maize season,” says Laloy. “However, farmers should be cautious not to bury too much biomass as this has a negative impact on maize yields.”

Soil erosion on loess soils has long been recognized as a major environmental issue, because it affects long term agricultural productivity and may show strong off-site impacts. Sowing winter cover crops is frequently advocated as a means to reduce erosion during the intercropping period in between two main crops. In principle, cover crops can also help reduce erosion during the main crop by improving the soil’s physical quality.

This study demonstrated the importance of the residual effect of cover crops in continuous maize cropping systems. Maize that is harvested late and cover crops sown in autumn may suffer from poor development as a result of cold weather, yet they can still provide benefits to soil quality in the next year.

Further research will be needed to clarify the exact conditions of occurrence of this residual cover effect and the mechanisms involved. This study was funded by the Walloon Region of Belgium.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/39/3/1001.

The Journal of Environmental Quality, http://jeq.scijournals.org is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>