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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359219

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Winter cover crop effects on soil microbial population and community structure in claypan soils with corn-soybean rotation

Author
item Rankoth, Lalith - University Of Missouri
item Udawatta, Ranjith - University Of Missouri
item Gantzer, Clark - University Of Missouri
item Jose, Shibu - University Of Missouri
item Veum, Kristen

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/2018
Publication Date: 1/6/2019
Citation: Rankoth, L.M., Udawatta, R.P., Gantzer, C.J., Jose, S., Veum, K.S. 2019. Winter cover crop effects on soil microbial population and community structure in claypan soils with corn-soybean rotation [abstract]. Soil Science Society of America International Meeting, January 6-9, 2019, San Diego, California. Paper 115402.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Cover crops (CC) are receiving increased attention due to their potential benefits in farming systems such as organic matter addition and soil quality improvement. Cover crops also maintain an active rhizosphere which provides a good habitat for soil macro- and microorganisms. Soil microorganisms play a major role in soil quality maintenance, thus it is important to identify the effects of CC on soil microbial community structure. The objective of this study was to identify the effects of CC on soil microbial population levels and community structure compared to no cover crop (NCC) management under a corn (Zea maysL.)-soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) rotation system. This study was conducted in 2016, 2017, and 2018 at the Cover Crop Soil Health (CCSH) Research and Demonstration Farm, in Chariton County, Missouri. Six plots were established in 2012; five with CC and one without CC as the control. Soil samples from the 0-10 cm depth were analyzed for phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles from the cash crop period in 2016 and the CC period in 2017 and 2018. Total microbial biomass and all major microbial categories (bacterial biomass, fungal biomass, and Actinomycetes biomas) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the CC treatment compared to NCC in 2016 and 2018. This study contributes to our understanding of short-term CC effects on soil microbial populations.