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 Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

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: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>