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Cover Crops
1 years, 4 months ago
from Cover Crops
"The big idea behind cover crop mixtures is that the increased biodiversity will result in increased productivity, increased ecosystem services, or both. The Finney group tested both hypotheses. They found that the mixtures produced less biomass than the best monocultures (here, canola and cereal rye). They also found that mixtures did not provide increased ecosystem services (here, weed control, nitrogen scavenging, nitrogen storage, and effect on following crop) over the best monocultures. These findings are related. Finney et al. found that most of the ecosystem services which we want cover crops to provide are related to biomass production. Because a few of the monocultures produced the most biomass, they also provided more services. From this they concluded that 'a mixture may not be necessary” and “a single cover crop species may be sufficient and more economical than a mixture.' (I attended several sessions on cover crop mixtures at this year’s meeting of the Agronomy, Crop Science and Soil Science Societies, and did not hear any results that went against these findings.)"