Conservation system improves soil microbial quality and increases soybean yield in the Northeastern Cerrado






ABSTRACT The conservation tillage systems is based on the surface protection by crop residue and reduced soil disturbance. These two principles can favor the soil quality and promote sustainable agricultural systems. The study was developed with the objective of measure soil microbial biomass, soil basal respiration, enzymatic activity and soybean yield in conservation systems cultivated with cover crops species in the Northeastern Cerrado. The experiment was carried out in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 cropping seasons, performed in a randomized blocks design. The treatments were soil tillage systems allocated in the main plots: no-tillage (NT) and minimum tillage (MT) and the cover crops were allocated in the subplots: Pennisetum glaucum (millet), Urochloa ruziziensis (brachiaria), Crotalaria spectabilis (C. spectabilis), Crotalaria ochroleuca (C. ochroleuca), Pennisetum glaucum + Crotalaria spectabilis (millet + C. spectabilis) and spontaneous plants with three replicates. The evaluated variables were dry mass (DM) production and nutrient accumulation in cover crops; soil biological properties, namely microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen (MBC and MBN, respectively), respiration, metabolic quotient (qCO2), dehydrogenase enzymatic activity (DH), fluorescein diacetate (FDA); and soybean yield. The higher production of dry mass and nutrient cycling occurs with the intercropping millet + C. spectabilis and single millet. The highest soybean yield occurs in succession to C. ochroleuca and intercropping of the millet + C. spectabilis. Cover crops in conservation systems improve soil microbial quality and increase soybean yield.

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