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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Cover Crop, Tillage, and Crop Rotation Management on Soil Nutrients

1
School of Agriculture, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37127, USA
2
School of Science, Navajo Technical University, Lower point Road, State Hwy 371, Crownpoint, NM 87313, USA
3
Instiut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques (IFA) de Yangambi, Kisangani BP 1232, Democratic Republic of Congo
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060225
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 4 June 2020 / Accepted: 8 June 2020 / Published: 11 June 2020
Cover cropping, tillage and crop rotation management can influence soil nutrient availability and crop yield through changes in soil physical, chemical and biological processes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of three years of cover crop, tillage, and crop rotation on selected soil nutrients. Twenty-four plots each of corn (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max) were established on a 4.05 ha field and arranged in a three-factor factorial design. The three factors (treatments) were two methods of tillage (no-tillage (NT) vs. moldboard plow [conventional] tillage (CT)), two types of cover crop (no cover crop (NC) vs. cover crop (CC)) and four typess of rotation (continuous corn, continuous soybean, corn/soybean and soybean/corn). Soil samples were taken each year at four different depths in each plot; 0–10 cm, 10–20 cm, 20–40 cm and 40–60 cm, and analyzed for soil nutrients: calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), nitrogen (NO3 and NH4), potassium (K), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), sodium (Na), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu). The results in the first year showed that CT increased NO3-N availability by 40% compared with NT. In the second year, NH4-N was 8% lower under CC compared with NC management. In the third year, P was 12% greater under CC management compared with NC management. Thus, CC can enhance crop production systems by increasing P availability and scavenging excess NH4-N from the soil, but longer-term studies are needed to evaluate long-term effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: cover crop; tillage; soil nutrients cover crop; tillage; soil nutrients
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Haruna, S.I.; Nkongolo, N.V. Influence of Cover Crop, Tillage, and Crop Rotation Management on Soil Nutrients. Agriculture 2020, 10, 225.

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