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Cover crops reduce erosion, runoff
Date:5/18/2010

has a negative impact on maize yields."

Soil erosion on loess soils has long been recognized as a major environmental issue, because it affects long term agricultural productivity and may show strong off-site impacts. Sowing winter cover crops is frequently advocated as a means to reduce erosion during the intercropping period in between two main crops. In principle, cover crops can also help reduce erosion during the main crop by improving the soil's physical quality.

This study demonstrated the importance of the residual effect of cover crops in continuous maize cropping systems. Maize that is harvested late and cover crops sown in autumn may suffer from poor development as a result of cold weather, yet they can still provide benefits to soil quality in the next year.

Further research will be needed to clarify the exact conditions of occurrence of this residual cover effect and the mechanisms involved. This study was funded by the Walloon Region of Belgium.


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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert  

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