Type: Book

Instant Insights: Cover crops


Dr Robert L. Myers



Publication date:

09 March 2021

Length of book:

134 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801460613

Paperback - £37.99
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This collection features four peer-reviewed literature reviews on cover crops in agriculture.

The first chapter describes the contribution of cover crops to improving soil health. The chapter reviews their key role e.g. supplying a food source for soil organisms, providing a source of carbon to help build soil organic matter, enhancing nutrient dynamics in the soil and improving soil structure.

The second chapter considers recent research on the benefits of cover crops in organic cultivation in areas such as soil structure and erosion control as well as nutrient cycling. It also looks at the wider role of cover crops in control of weeds, diseases and pests, promoting biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The third chapter highlights the use of different cover crops species to promote live or dead soil mulch cover in Conservation Agriculture systems. It also reviews how cover crops effect aspects such as soil acidity and nutrient availability, soil physical and biological properties, soil nematode control, weed control and grain yield.

The final chapter reviews the role of cover crops in weed control. Cover crops are important additions to crop rotations because they suppress weeds during rotational periods when crops are absent and provide ecosystem services that enhance soil quality and fertility.

Table of contents

Chapter 1 - Use of cover crops to promote soil health: Robert L. Myers, USDA – SARE and University of Missouri, USA;
1 Introduction 2 Benefits of cover crops for soil organisms and soil organic matter 3 Benefits of cover crops for soil health related to soil physical properties 4 Impacts of cover crops on soil health through increased biodiversity, reintegration of livestock and profitability 5 Summary and conclusions 6 Where to look for further information 7 References
Chapter 2 - Cover crops in organic crop cultivation: Peter Von Fragstein und Niemsdorff, Universität Kassel, Germany; 1 Introduction 2 Soil structure and erosion control 3 Nutrient cycling 4 Weed, pest and disease control 5 Promoting biodiversity 6 Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions 7 Integration of cover crops in no-till cultivation 8 Conclusions and future trends 9 Where to look for further information 10 References
Chapter 3 - The role and management of soil mulch and cover crops in Conservation Agriculture systems: A. Calegari, Agricultural Research Institute of Paraná State (IAPAR), Brazil; T. Tiecher, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil; E. B. Wutke, Research Agricultural Institute of Campinas (IAC), Brazil; L. B. dos S. Canalli, Agricultural Research Institute of Paraná State (IAPAR), Brazil; R. Bunch, Consultant, Brazil; and D. dos S. Rheinheimer, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil; 1 Introduction 2 The main components of an adequate Conservation Agriculture system and general aspects of soil mulching and cover crops 3 Soil organic carbon and nutrients 4 Effect of cover crops on soil acidity and nutrient availability 5 Effect of cover crops on soil physical properties 6 Effect of cover crops on soil biological properties 7 Effect of cover crops on soil nematode control 8 Effect of cover crops on weed control 9 Effect of cover crops on grain yield 10 Conclusion 11 References
Chapter 4 - The use of rotations and cover crops to manage weeds: John R. Teasdale, ARS-USDA, USA; 1 Introduction 2 Crop rotation in weed management 3 Cover crops in weed management 4 Opportunities for weed establishment within rotations 5 Conclusion 6 Future trends 7 Where to look for further information 8 References