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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390067

Research Project: Conservation Systems to Improve Production Efficiency, Reduce Risk, and Promote Sustainability

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Soil health assessments of cover crop monocultures and mixes in the southeast U.S.

item DECKER, HANNAH - Auburn University
item JOHNSON, ANNA - Auburn University
item GAMBLE, AUDREY - Auburn University
item Balkcom, Kipling

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2021
Publication Date: 11/15/2021
Citation: Decker, H., Johnson, A., Gamble, A.V., Balkcom, K.S. 2021. Soil health assessments of cover crop monocultures and mixes in the southeast U.S. [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. 11/10/2021, Salt Lake City, UT.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The southeastern United States has a long history of soil degradation, and cover crop utilization has the potential to restore soil productivity in crop production systems. Cover crops have been shown to increase soil organic matter, improve soil structure, and enhance nutrient-use efficiency. A study was established in 2017 at two locations in Alabama (WREC and TVREC) to examine the impact of cover crops on dynamic soil health indicators. A variety of cover crop treatments including monocultures and combinations of cereal rye (Secale cereale), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), and Daikon radish (Raphanus sativus) as well as a fallow treatment were arranged in a randomized complete block design in cotton-legume cash crop rotations. Soil health indicators measured included permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC), soil organic carbon (SOC), water stable aggregates (WSA), and soil strength (AUCC.I.). These soil properties have been evaluated over a period of four years (2018-2021). Cover crop biomass had significant interactions between treatment, year, and location in 2020. SOC was significantly higher in the 3-way mix treatment at the 10-15 cm depth than the fallow and 1-way mixes at TVREC, however there was no significant treatment by depth interaction at WREC. There was no significant effect of cover crop treatment on WSA or POXC in 2020. AUCC.I. was not significantly different at TVREC or WREC in 2020 despite significant differences in soil moisture at the time of AUCC.I. sampling. Additional results from 2021 data collection will be discussed.