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Legume Winter Cover Crops

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Part of the Advances in Soil Science book series (SOIL,volume 7)

Abstract

Throughout virtually all of the history of agriculture, the nitrogen harvested from cropped soils has been replenished, if it has been replenished at all, by leguminous nitrogen fixation. Although animal wastes, nonsymbiotic fixation, and atmospheric deposition can be significant sources of N, a large fraction of the first can be traced to legume sources and the latter two are generally insufficient to maintain productivity of cropland. In the Mediterranean Civilizations, documented recognition of the value of green manures can be found as early as the writings of Xenophon, who lived from 434 to 355 B.C. (according to Wedderbuan and Collingwood, 1976). Semple (1928), in a review of ancient agricultural practices, indicated that several writers have specifically discussed the use of legumes for soil improvement. Theophrastus (373–287 B.C.) wrote of bean crops being used as green manure by farmers of Macedonia and Thessaly. Cato (234–149 B.C.) and Columella (about 45 A.D.) compared the value of various legumes in soil improvement. Lupine was a favored legume for this purpose. According to Pieters (1927), Chinese writers recognized more than 2,000 years ago that legumes increased production of the crops that followed. As is often the case now, development of these practices by farmers may considerably predate their consideration by academics.

Keywords

  • Cover Crop
  • Conventional Tillage
  • Conservation Tillage
  • Corn Yield
  • Summer Crop

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Smith, M.S., Frye, W.W., Varco, J.J. (1987). Legume Winter Cover Crops. In: Stewart, B.A. (eds) Advances in Soil Science. Advances in Soil Science, vol 7. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-4790-6_3

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