Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388559

Research Project: Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems

Location: Agricultural Systems Research

Title: Effect of alternative dryland crops on soil microbial communities in no-till durum systems

Author
item Rana Dangi, Sadikshya
item Allen, Brett
item Jabro, Jalal - Jay
item Rand, Tatyana
item Campbell, Joshua
item Calderon, Rosalie

Submitted to: Soil Systems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Crop rotation affects soil health and resilience by increasing crop yields compared to monocropping and crop-fallow systems. In the northern Great Plains, the effect of introducing oilseed and cover crops (CC) on soil microbial communities is not clear. The aim of this research is to evaluate the effect of carinata, camelina, CC mix and fallow on soil microbial communities. The total bacterial proportion was significantly higher in camelina and fallow compared to CCs and carinata, whereas the total fungal proportion was significantly higher under a CC mix compared to camelina and fallow. Decline in viable microbial biomass due to crop rotation could interrupt key microbial processes related to nutrient and water acquisition essential for optimal crop production. This study provides information on the effect of camelina, carinata, and a CC mix on soil microbial communities as the land area planted with CCs and oilseed crops are expected to increase in future years.

Technical Abstract: The composition of a soil microbial community that is associated with novel rotation crops could contribute to an increased yield of subsequent crops and is an important factor influencing the composition of the rhizosphere microbiome. However, the effect of alternative dryland crops on soil microbial community composition is not clear in the northern Great Plains. The objective of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the effects of the oilseed crops Ethiopian mustard (Brassica carinata A.) or camelina (Camelina sativa L.) or a 10-species forage/cover crop (CC) mix and fallow on soil biological health. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis was used to characterize the microbial community structure. The results showed that the total bacterial PLFA proportion was significantly higher in camelina and fallow compared to CCs and carinata, whereas the total fungal proportion was significantly higher under a CC mix compared to camelina and fallow. Fungi are often considered a good indicator of soil health, while bacteria are crucial in soil functions. The changes in specific microbial communities due to crop-related alterations might play a key role in the yield of subsequent crops. This study provides valuable insights into the effect of oilseeds, CCs, and fallow on microbial communities.