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Agronomic Evaluation of Legume Cover Crops for Sustainable Agriculture

da Silva Souza, GilianeAparecida Vicente, de Souza, TancredoAugusto Feitosa, Santos, Djail, Rios, ElicaSantos, de Lima Souza, GilmaraJuliana
Russian agricultural sciences 2018 v.44 no.1 pp. 31-38
Regosols, agronomic traits, biomass, chlorophyll, cover crops, field experimentation, leaves, legumes, nitrogen, nitrogen content, soil chemical properties, soil fertility, soil organic carbon, sustainable agriculture, tropical soils, weeds
The agronomic characteristics of different legume cover crops and their effects on soil chemical properties were investigated in a short-term field study. We compared weed biomass, nitrogen equivalence, growth rate, leaf chlorophyll content, cover crop biomass, soil total organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen under eight different legume cover crops in a short-term field experiment. We found the highest growth rate, cover crop dry biomass, N plant content, and N contribution with C. ochroleuca plants, whereas for leaf chlorophyll content, soil organic carbon, and total nitrogen the highest values were found with M. pruriens. We did not find any significant difference among C. ochroleuca and M. pruriens for cover crop dry biomass. Our findings suggest that the incorporation of cover crops into the soil can change positively the soil chemical properties, such as soil organic carbon and total nitrogen. Our results also highlight the importance of considering the short-term effect of cover crops on the tropical soil fertility maintenance, in this case, Regosol.