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Crucifer-legume cover crop mixtures provide effective sulphate catch crop and sulphur green manure services

Couëdel A., Alletto L., Justes E.. 2018. Plant and Soil, 426 (1-2) : p. 61-76.

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-018-3615-8

Background and aims: Crucifers grown as cover crops are known to reduce sulphate leaching (S catch-crop service) and release large amounts of mineral sulphate for the subsequent cash crop once incorporated into the soil (S green-manure service). Crucifer-legume cover crop mixtures are effective to obtain high nitrogen related services, but few data exist on their performances for S-related services. Our study aimed to assess performances of a wide variety of bispecific crucifer-legume mixtures designed to provide soil S catch-crop and S green-manure services. Methods: A two-year field experiment was conducted at two sites near Toulouse, France (silt clay loam soil) and Orléans, France (sandy loam soil) in which cultivars from eight crucifer species and nine legume species were tested as sole and bispecific cover crops. Results: Crucifer-legume mixtures and crucifer sole cover crops provided the same level of S catch-crop service (12 kg S ha-1), significantly higher than that of legume sole cover crops (4 kg S ha-1). Similarly, crucifer-legume mixtures provided almost the same level of S green-manure service (5.5 kg S ha-1) as crucifer sole cover crops (6.5 kg S ha-1). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate the compatibility and complementarity of certain crucifer and legume species when grown together to provide S and N catch-crop and green-manure services. For a same cover crop species no strong cultivar effect has been highlighted in our growing conditions.

Mots-clés : france

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