Advertisement

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 33–46 | Cite as

Nitrogen dynamics and yields of fresh bean and sweet corn with different cover crops and planting dates

  • Laura. L. Van Eerd
Original Article

Abstract

Cover crops are recommended to mitigate N losses but effects on crop productivity have been variable and often negative. A better understanding of management-specific cover crop systems may lead to yield improvements. In 2011–2014, a split–split-plot factorial field experiment, with four replicates assessed the impact of cover crop (five species and no cover crop controls) and planting date (August vs. September) on crop yield and N dynamics. Fresh bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa) were grown with 45 and 101 kg N ha−1 fertilizer, respectively, except for the no cover crop without fertilizer control (Nocc-NoN). Although there was a cover crop by planting date interaction (P < 0.05) for cover crop biomass and N accumulation in the fall and spring, this interaction was not observed in main crop yield nor N concentration and accumulation, suggesting that simply growing a cover crop and below-ground effects may be more influential than the quantity and quality of above-ground biomass. Based on greater yields (6.9%) than the no cover crop with fertilizer (Nocc+N) control, all cover crops tested were recommended before corn but only the oat cover crop increased fresh bean yield (by 10.5%), which suggests crop-specific recommendations are needed. Yield improvements could not be attributed to N fertility alone, suggesting another mechanism was involved. The increased productivity with cover crops while minimizing potential for N losses in the non-growing season has important implications for sustainable agroecosystems and food security.

Keywords

Catch crops Service crops Forage pea Hairy vetch Oat Oilseed radish Phaseolus vulgaris Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer Winter cereal rye Wet temperate climate Zea mays L. var. rugosa 

Abbreviations

Nocc+N

No cover crop control with fertilizer N to main crop

Nocc-NoN

No cover crop control without fertilizer N

SMN

Soil mineral N

Notes

Acknowledgements

The financial and in-kind contribution of the following organizations to this research program was greatly appreciated: Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)-University of Guelph Partnership, OMAFRA Summer Jobs Program, Summer Experience Program. Efforts of Mr. Mike Zink and our research assistants are greatly appreciated.

References

  1. Baggs EM, Watson CA, Rees RM (2000) The fate of nitrogen from incorporated cover crop and green manure residues. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 56:153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bamford KC, Entz MH (2017) Management of organic hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) cover crops in the establishment year. Can J Plant Sci 97:1–5.  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2016-0142 Google Scholar
  3. Basche AD, Kaspar TC, Archontoulis SV, Jaynes DB, Sauer TJ, Parkin TB, Miguez FE (2016) Soil water improvements with the long-term use of a winter rye cover crop. Agric Water Manag 172:40–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belfry KD, Trueman C, Vyn RJ, Loewen SA, Van Eerd LL (2017) Winter cover crops on processing tomato yield, quality, pest pressure, nitrogen availability, and profit margins. PLoS ONE 12(7):e0180500.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180500 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Blanco-Canqui H, Shaver TM, Lindquist JL, Shapiro CA, Elmore RW, Francis CA, Hergert CW (2015) Cover crops and ecosystem services: insights from studies in temperate soils. Agron J 107:2449–2474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burket J, Hemphill D, Dick R (1997) Winter cover crops and nitrogen management in sweet corn and broccoli rotations. HortScience 32:664–668Google Scholar
  7. Carlson S, Stockwell R (2013) Research priorities for advancing adoption of cover crops in agriculture-intensive regions. J Agric Food Syst Community Dev 3:25–129Google Scholar
  8. Carrera LM, Abdul-Baki AA, Teasdale JR (2004) Cover crop management and weed suppression in no-tillage sweet corn production. HortScience 39:1262–1266Google Scholar
  9. Cartier LC (2011) Nitrogen dynamics as affected by cover crop type, planting date and rye biomass spring removal in a cover crop-cucumber rotation. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Guelph, p 193Google Scholar
  10. Coombs C, Deen B, Lauzon JD, Van Eerd LL 2017. Impact of legume cover crop management on nitrogen dynamics and yield in grain corn systems. Field Crop Res 201:75–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Delgado J (1998) Sequential NLEAP simulations to examine effect of early and late planted winter cover crops on nitrogen dynamics. J Soil Water Conserv 53:241–244Google Scholar
  12. George T, Singleton PW (1992) Nitrogen assimilation traits and dinitrogen fixation in soybean and common bean. Agron J 84:1020–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hashemi M, Farsad A, Sedeghpour A, Weis SA, Herbert SJ (2013) Cover-crop seeding-date influence on fall nitrogen recovery. J Plant Nut Soil Sci 176:69–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hill EC, Renner KA, Sprague CL (2016) Cover crop impact on nitrogen availability and dry bean in an organic system. Agron J 108:329–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Isse AA, MacKenzie AF, Stewart K, Cloutier DC, Smith DL (1999) Cover crops and nutrient retention for subsequent sweet corn production. Agron J 91:934–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Komatsuzaki M, Wagger MG (2015) Nitrogen recovery by cover crops in relation to time of planting and growth termination. J Soil Water Conserv 70:385–398.  https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.70.6.385 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lozier TM, Macrae ML, Brunke R, Van Eerd LL (2017) Release of phosphorus from crop residue and cover crops over the non-growing season in a cool temperate region. Agric Water Manag 189:39–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mailvaganam S (2017) Vegetable statistics: area, production, farm value, price and yield, Ontario, 2015–2016 [cited 18 July 2017]. In: Horticultural crops. [Internet]. 2017. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/stats/hort/veg_all15-16.htm. Accessed 22 Feb 2018
  19. Marcillo GS, Miguez FE (2017) Corn yield response to winter cover crops: an updated meta-analysis. J Soil Water Conserv 72:226–239.  https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.72.3.226 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maynard DG, Kalra YP, Crumbaugh JA (2008) Nitrate and exchangeable ammonium nitrogen. In: Carter MR, Gregorich EG (eds) Soil sampling and methods of analysis, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 71–80Google Scholar
  21. Miguez FE, Bollero GA (2005) Review of corn yield response under winter cover cropping systems using meta-analytic methods. Crop Sci 45:2318–2329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miller MH, Beauchamp EG, Lauzon JD (1994) Leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus from the biomass of three cover crop species. J Environ Qual 23:267–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murrell EG, Schipanski ME, Finney DM, Hunter MC, Burgess M, LaChance JC, Baraibar B, White CM, Mortensen DA, Kaye JP (2017) Achieving diverse cover crop mixtures: effects of planting date and seeding rate. Agron J 109:259–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. OPVG (2011) Ontario processing vegetable growers. Information handbook, London, p 141Google Scholar
  25. OPVG (2017) Ontario processing vegetable growers. In: Crop information: sweet corn, green & waxed beans. http://www.opvg.org/crops/. Accessed 24 July 2017
  26. O’Reilly KA, Lauzon JD, Vyn RJ, Van Eerd LL (2012) Nitrogen cycling, profit margins and sweet corn yield under fall cover crop systems. Can J Soil Sci 92:353–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pittelkow CM, Liang X, Linquist BA, van Groenigen KJ, Lee J, Lundy ME, van Gestel N, Six J, Venterea RT, van Kessel C (2015) Productivity limits and potentials of the principles of conservation agriculture. Nature 517:365–368CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Ritter W, Scarborough R, Chirnside A (1998) Winter cover crops as best management practice for nitrate leaching. J Contam Hydrol 34:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sainju UM, Singh BP (2001) Tillage, cover crop and kill-planting date effects on corn yield and soil nitrogen. Agron J 93:878–886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sainju UM, Singh BP, Whitehead WF (1998) Cover crop root distribution and its effects on soil nitrogen cycling. Agron J 90:511–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sainju UM, Whitehead WF, Singh BP (2003) Cover crops and nitrogen fertilization effects on soil aggregation and carbon and nitrogen pools. Can J Soil Sci 83:155–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Silva EM, Moore VM (2017) Cover crops as an agroecological practice on organic vegetable farms in Wisconsin, USA. Sustainability 9:1–15.  https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010055 Google Scholar
  33. Snapp SS, Swinton SM, Labarta R, Mutch D, Black JR, Leep R, Nyiraneza J, O’Neil K (2005) Evaluating cover crops for benefits, costs and performance within cropping system niches. Agron J 97:322–332Google Scholar
  34. Statistics Canada (2017) Table 004-0208-census of agriculture, land practices and land features, every 5 years (2016). CANSIM database. http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a47#F22. Accessed 17 July 2017
  35. Tonitto C, David MB, Drinkwater LE (2006) Replacing bare fallows with cover crops in fertilizer-intensive cropping systems: a meta-analysis of crop yield and N dynamics. Agric Ecosyst Environ 112:58–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vos J, van der Putten P (2001) Field observations on nitrogen catch crops. III. Transfer of nitrogen to the succeeding main crop. Plant Soil 236:263–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vyn TJ, Faber JG, Janovicek KJ, Beauchamp EG (2000) Cover crop effects on nitrogen availability to corn following wheat. Agron J 92:915–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wayman S, Kissing Kucek L, Mirsky SB, Ackroyd C, Cordeau S, Ryan MR (2016) Organic and conventional farmers differ in their perspectives on cover crop use and breeding. Renew Agri Food Syst 32:376–385.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742170516000338 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Weinert T, Pan W, Moneymaker M, Santo G, Stevens R (2002) Nitrogen recycling by nonleguminous winter cover crops to reduce leaching in potato rotations. Agron J 94:365–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wittwer RA, Dorn B, Jossi W, van der Heijden MGA (2017) Cover crops support ecological intensification of arable cropping systems. Nature 7(41911):1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41911 Google Scholar
  41. World Health Organization (2013) Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013–2020. WHO Document Production Services Geneva. p 55, ISBN: 978 92 4 150623 6Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of Guelph, Ridgetown CampusRidgetownCanada

Personalised recommendations