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Open AccessArticle

Changes in the Soil Microbial Hydrolytic Activity and the Content of Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen by Growing Spring Barley Undersown with Red Clover in Different Farming Systems

1
Chair of Crop Science and Plant Biology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Fr. R.Kreutzwaldi 1, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia
2
Chair of Plant Health, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi 1, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070146
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 2 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 7 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
The experiments were carried out during 2012–2017. There were 5 crops in rotation: Red clover, winter wheat, pea, potato and barley undersown (us) with red clover. There were 5 cropping systems in the experimental setup: 2 conventional systems with chemical plant protection and mineral fertilizers; 3 organic systems which included winter cover crops and farm manure. The aim of the present research was to study the effect of cultivating barley undersown with red clover and the preceding winter cover crop on the soil microbial hydrolytic activity, the change in the content of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (Ntot) compared to the same parameters from the field that was previously under potato cultivation (forecrop of barley in the rotation). The cultivation of barley with red clover (barley (us)) had a positive impact on the soil micro-organisms activity. In organic systems the soil microbial hydrolytic activity increased on average by 19.0%, compared to the conventional systems. By cultivating barley (us) the soil microbial hydrolytic activity had a significant effect on the SOC content only in organic systems where winter cover crops were used. Organic cultivation systems had positive impact on the soil nitrogen content; Ntot in samples taken before sowing the barley (us) was higher by 17.4% and after the cultivation of barley (us) by 14.4% compared to conventional systems, as an average of experimental years. After cultivation of barley (us) with red clover the soil microbial hydrolytic activity had no effect on the soil Ntot content in either cultivation systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: cropping systems; organic farming; barley; red clover; soil hydrolytic activity; soil organic carbon; total nitrogen cropping systems; organic farming; barley; red clover; soil hydrolytic activity; soil organic carbon; total nitrogen
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Kuht, J.; Eremeev, V.; Talgre, L.; Alaru, M.; Loit, E.; Mäeorg, E.; Esmaeilzadeh-Salestani, K.; Luik, A. Changes in the Soil Microbial Hydrolytic Activity and the Content of Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen by Growing Spring Barley Undersown with Red Clover in Different Farming Systems. Agriculture 2019, 9, 146.

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