Cover Crops Leading to Diversity


Image Credit: Computed tomography scanning at Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory with the help of Dr. Mark Rivers.

Source: Science Daily; American Society of Agronomy

Sasha Kravchenko, a soil scientist and professor at Michigan State University, studies different soil pores, and their differences in different agricultural systems. She says that it is agricultural practises effect not only the sizes and numbers of soil aggregates, but also what the pores inside them will look like. Kravchenko’s work compared two contrasting agricultural systems; the soil in one system grew crops such as corn in summers. Then the soil was left from the time of main crop harvest through planting the following spring. The soil in the other system had live vegetation year-round. She found profound differences in the micro-ecosystems in these different pores.

Within individual aggregates, different bacteria appeared to prefer different conditions. Many of them liked the areas that had a lot of pores with smaller (30-90 micron) diameter, while others preferred being around large (more than 150 micron) pores. “We don’t know for sure why that was so, but it is likely that pores of this size provided optimal settings in terms of transport of nutrients, fluxes of air and water, and ability of bacteria to reach and decompose plant residues,” Kravchenko says.


Read the full article here:–+ScienceDaily%29


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