The impact of the termination technology of agro-ecological service crops on soil properties in open field vegetable production
Estonian Crop Research Institute, J.Aamisepa 1, EE48309 Jõgeva, Jõgeva Vald, Estonia
The agro-ecological service crops (ASC) are introduced in the agro-ecosystems to provide or enhance ecological services, thus promoting the whole soil-plant system equilibrium. To avoid competition with the subsequent cash crops, the growth of the interposed ASC is terminated in advance of the cash crop planting. The traditional, most widespread technique to terminate the ASC is incorporation as green manure into the soil by tillage (GM). However, since tillage includes energy and labour consuming and soil disturbing operations, the use of no/reduced tillage techniques (as the roller crimping technology-RC) has received increasing interest.
An international research consortium (SOILVEG) including Estonian Crop Research Institute, was established in 2015 with the aim to study among others the impact of ASC termination on soil dry bulk density (BD), water content, soil structure and microbiological activity. Data are collected from Estonian trials in 2016 and 2017 at Jõgeva.
The physical properties of 0–40 cm soil layers were determined. Higher BD in soil layers (0–20 cm) of plots with ASC and RC was determined comparing to the GM and control plots. Bigger water content in same layer of plots with ASC and the RC was determined comparing to the GM plots. The use of the ASC-s helped to arise ratio of agronomically preferred soil particles.
Microbial activity was estimated by assessing of enzyme dehydrogenase activity in 0–20 cm soil layer. There were no statistically relevant differences in soil dehydrogenase activity (DHA) between the RC and GM treatments.