Special Issue "Cover Crops"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Roberto Mancinelli
Website1 Website2 Website3 Website4
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: crop production; crop protection; weed control; agricultural systems and management; environment and climate change in agriculture; greenhouse gas emissions
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sara Marinari
Website
Guest Editor
Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest systems DIBAF, Tuscia University, Tuscia, Italy
Interests: soil quality; soil use; soil management; soil functions; soil process
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
Website1 Website2 Website3
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, 01100, Viterbo, Italy
Interests: crop management and production; weed management; weed community composition; integrated weed management (IWM); soil fertility and plant nutrition; sustainable cropping systems; environmental science
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Across the globe, the simplification of cropping systems due to the inadequate use of agrochemicals and heavier mechanization has contributed to the increase of environmental issues. Therefore, there is a growing need for agricultural management that is more environmentally friendly and capable of striking a balance between human and agro-ecosystems needs. The recent interest in cover crop adoption is due to the increase of agrochemical costs and to the decline of soil fertility associated with various farming systems’ management. Indeed, the adoption of cover crops could be a suitable strategy for improving crop yield, soil organic matter, and microbial activity, and reducing soil erosion. Furthermore, cover crops could contribute to weed control, maintaining a balance in weed flora composition. Recently, researchers have also started paying attention to cover crop residue management after their suppression, in order to manage nutrient supply to the next main crop by organic residue mineralization.

The main objective of the Special Issue is the publication of original research, modeling approaches, and review papers addressing how cover crop management affects cropping systems across different environments, soils, and geographic locations. To achieve this goal, Agriculture is encouraging researchers to submit relevant articles to this Special Issue. Therefore, manuscripts evaluating how cover crops support sustainable agriculture, improving crop productivity, weed management, nutrient dynamic, soil physical, and biochemical properties, as well as carbon sequestration and management strategies, are welcome.

Prof. Roberto Mancinelli
Dr. Sara Marinari
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable cropping systems
  • Soil characteristics and management
  • Biomass production
  • Crop yield
  • Nutrient dynamic
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Weed control

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Cover Crops on the Yield of Spring Barley in Estonia
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080172 - 03 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Using cover crops in fallow periods of crop production is an important management tool for reducing nitrate leaching and therefore improving nitrogen availability for subsequent crops. We estimated the short-term effect of five cover crop species on the yield of successive spring barley [...] Read more.
Using cover crops in fallow periods of crop production is an important management tool for reducing nitrate leaching and therefore improving nitrogen availability for subsequent crops. We estimated the short-term effect of five cover crop species on the yield of successive spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for two years in Estonia. The cover crop species used in the study were winter rye (Secale cereale L.), winter turnip rape (Brassica rapa spp. oleifera L.), forage radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. longipinnatus), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), and berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.). The results indicated that out of the five tested cover crops, forage radish and hairy vetch increased the yield of subsequent spring barley, whereas the other cover crops had no effect on barley yield. All cover crop species had low C:N ratios (11–17), suggesting that nitrogen (N) was available for barley early in the spring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

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
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070146 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
How Soil Ecological Intensification by Means of Cover Crops Affects Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Pepper Cultivation
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070145 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Ecological intensification, based on agricultural practices that promote ecosystem services, has been recently proposed to match crop yield and environmental concerns. Two-year experiments were conducted in a Mediterranean environment. The treatments were: (i) four intensification levels (common vetch (CV), ryegrass (RG), bare soil [...] Read more.
Ecological intensification, based on agricultural practices that promote ecosystem services, has been recently proposed to match crop yield and environmental concerns. Two-year experiments were conducted in a Mediterranean environment. The treatments were: (i) four intensification levels (common vetch (CV), ryegrass (RG), bare soil without Nitrogen (N) fertilization (Control-N0) and with 100 kg ha−1 of N fertilization (Control-N100) applied during pepper cultivation), and(ii) two soil tillage [soil tillage at 15 cm and 30 cm of soil depth (ST-15 and ST-30, respectively)]. The field experiment was disposed in a randomized block design with three replications. Cover crop, soil samples, and pepper samples were collected for analysis. Soil available nitrogen increased after soil tillage, especially in CV, which showed the highest fruit yield. The reduced soil N availability in RG decreased fruit yield and N uptake. The agro-physiological efficiency of pepper was similar in common vetch and Control-N100, while it was low in ryegrass. However, the adoption of RG increased the soil organic matter more than both control treatments, which, in turn, caused a depletion of soil organic matter. Moreover, reduced tillage practices for green manuring that both cover crops arepreferable to reduce external inputs in terms of fuel saving and farming operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of GA3 and Gly Plant Growth Regulators on Productivity and Sugar Content of Sugarcane
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070136 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The use of plant growth regulators is one effective solution to improve sugarcane yields and sugar content in several countries. In this study, we examined the role of gibberellin acid (GA3) and glyphosate (Gly) plant growth regulators to determine the appropriate concentration of [...] Read more.
The use of plant growth regulators is one effective solution to improve sugarcane yields and sugar content in several countries. In this study, we examined the role of gibberellin acid (GA3) and glyphosate (Gly) plant growth regulators to determine the appropriate concentration of GA3 and Gly to increase the yield of sugarcane and sugar accumulation, respectively. The statistical results showed that GA3 was sprayed at 150 ppm to increment the actual yield by 19.94%; sucrose accumulation increased by 2.21%. With Gly treatment, although the yield decreased by 3.17%, sucrose accumulation increased by 11.27% compared to control trials. In this study, the combined concentration of 150 ppm of both GA3 and Gly gave the best results, for which sucrose accumulation increased from 2.21% to 10.74% and from 19.94% to 20.97% for actual yield. The results led to increased net income compared to the control. To address concerns about residues of plant growth regulators, residues of GA3 and Gly were evaluated after the sugarcane harvest using the HPLC and UV-vis methods, respectively. The analyzed results showed that their residues were lower than what is permitted in several countries. This showed the applicability of the study, on a large scale, to increase sucrose accumulation, productivity of sugarcane, and profit for farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Cover Crop Management Strategies in Nebraska, US
Agriculture 2019, 9(6), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9060124 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Adoption of cover crops has the potential to increase agricultural sustainability in the US and beyond. In 2017, a survey was conducted with Nebraska stakeholders in an attempt to evaluate current cover crop management strategies adopted in soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.), [...] Read more.
Adoption of cover crops has the potential to increase agricultural sustainability in the US and beyond. In 2017, a survey was conducted with Nebraska stakeholders in an attempt to evaluate current cover crop management strategies adopted in soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.), field corn (Zea mays L.), and seed corn production. Eighty-two Nebraska stakeholders answered the survey, of which 80% identified themselves as growers. Eighty-seven percent of respondents manage cover crops, and the average cover crop ha planted on a per farm basis is 32%. The primary method of establishing cover crops following soybeans and field corn is drilling. In seed corn, interseeding is the main seeding strategy for cover crop establishment. Cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) appeared as the most adopted cover crop species (either alone or in mixtures with radish [Raphanus sativus L.] or hairy vetch [Vicia villosa Roth]). Over 95% of respondents utilize herbicides for cover crop termination in the spring before crop planting. Glyphosate is used by 100% of survey respondents that use herbicides for cover crop termination. The major observed impacts of incorporating cover crops into a production system according to survey respondents are reduced soil erosion and weed suppression. According to 93% of respondents, cover crops improve weed control by suppressing winter and/or summer annual weed species. The biggest challenge reported by cover crop adopters is planting and establishing a decent stand before winter. According to the results of this survey, there are different management strategies, positive outcomes, and challenges that accompany cover crop adoption in Nebraska. These results will help growers, agronomists, and researchers better guide cover crop adoption, management, and future research and education needs in Nebraska and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Can Hairy Vetch Cover Crop Affects Arsenic Accumulation in Vegetable Crops?
Agriculture 2019, 9(5), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9050089 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Agricultural practices greatly influence the bioavailability of heavy metals. Arsenic (As) is a heavy metal identified as a concern due to its potential impact on human health. Two-year field experiments were performed to evaluate the effect of cropping system on As accumulation in [...] Read more.
Agricultural practices greatly influence the bioavailability of heavy metals. Arsenic (As) is a heavy metal identified as a concern due to its potential impact on human health. Two-year field experiments were performed to evaluate the effect of cropping system on As accumulation in tomato, sweet pepper and zucchini. The treatments were: (i) conventional system based on common practices of the area; and (ii) alternative systems based on cultivation of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) in no-tillage before vegetable crops. Randomized block design with three replications was adopted. Soil and plant samples (fruits, leaves, stems and roots) were collected at crop harvesting. Plant samples were weighed and analyzed to evaluate As content. Soil chemical analyses were performed to evaluate the total organic carbon and nitrogen content. The As accumulation observed in plant samples of tomato, sweet pepper and zucchini resulted always low in the alternative system, except in fruits where As accumulation was similar between the systems. The increase of soil organic matter observed in alternative system probably caused a reduction of As accumulation into crop tissues. Therefore, hairy vetch cultivation in no-tillage could be a suitable strategy to reduce the As uptake of vegetable crops in geogenic contaminated soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
CO2 Flux and C Balance due to the Replacement of Bare Soil with Agro-Ecological Service Crops in Mediterranean Environment
Agriculture 2019, 9(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040071 - 02 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Intensive agriculture practices often results in decomposition of organic matter, thus causing soil CO2 emissions. Agro-ecological service crop could be profitably cultivated to improve soil characteristics and reduce CO2 emissions under Mediterranean environment. Two-year field trials were conducted in central Italy. [...] Read more.
Intensive agriculture practices often results in decomposition of organic matter, thus causing soil CO2 emissions. Agro-ecological service crop could be profitably cultivated to improve soil characteristics and reduce CO2 emissions under Mediterranean environment. Two-year field trials were conducted in central Italy. The treatments were three agro-ecological service crops (hairy vetch, oat, and oilseed rape) and a no-service cover. Plant development, soil characteristics, and CO2 emissions were measured. Oat and oilseed rape showed a rapid growth, while hairy vetch started to grow rapidly only after the cold period. Soil CO2 emissions trend was similar among the agro-ecological service crops and tended to decrease during the cold period, then gradually increased until April when warm temperatures were observed. The high soil CO2 emissions and respiration index observed in hairy vetch probably stimulated mineral nutrients, especially nitrogen, to become more available in the soil compared to oat and oilseed rape throughout the decomposition of soil organic matter. These results confirmed that the cultivation of agro-ecological service crops, especially hairy vetch, could represent a suitable strategy for enhancing carbon sequestration and lead to a mitigation of CO2 emissions during the fallow period and could thus contribute to the climate change mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cover Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop