The effect of cover crop and crop rotation on soil water storage and on sorghum yield.


Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira




Crop rotation and cover crop can be important means for enhancing crop yield in rainfed areas such as the lower Coastal Bend Region of Texas, USA. A trial was conducted in 1995 as part of a long-term cropping experiment (7 years) to investigate the effect of oat (Avena sativa L.) cover and rotation on soil water storage and yield of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.). The trial design was a RCB in a split-plot arrangement with four replicates. Rotation sequences were the main plots and oat cover crop the subplots. Cover crop reduced sorghum grain yield. This effect was attibuted to a reduced concentration of availabre soil N and less soil water storage under this treatment. By delaying cover termination, the residue with a high C/N acted as an N sink through competition and/or immobilization instead of an N source to sorghum plants. Crop rotation had a significantly positive effect on sorghum yield and this effect was attributed to a significantly larger amount of N concentration under these rotation sequences.


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