Keeping the soil coated is a basic principle of CA. Crop residues are left at the soil floor, but quilt crops is also wanted if the space is too lengthy between harvesting one crop and establishing the following. Cover plants reinforce the stability of the CA gadget, not simplest on the growth of soil homes but also for their capability to advertise an larger biodiversity in the agro-ecosystem.
While commercial plants have a marketplace value, cover vegetation are mainly grown for their impact on soil fertility or as livestock fodder. In areas the place smaller amounts of biomass are produced, comparable to semi-arid areas or areas of eroded and degraded soils, cover plants are advisable as they:
Protect the soil right through fallow sessions.
- Mobilize and recycle vitamins.
- Improve the soil structure and damage compacted layers and hard pans.
- Permit a rotation in a monoculture.
- Can be used to keep an eye on weeds and pests.
Cover plants are grown right through fallow sessions, between harvest and planting of commercial vegetation, utilizing the residual soil moisture. Their enlargement is interrupted both prior to the following crop is sown, or after sowing the following crop, however earlier than festival between the two plants starts. Cover vegetation energize crop production, but they also present some demanding situations.
Cover vegetation are useful for:
- Protecting the soil, when it does not have a crop.
- Providing an extra source of organic topic to reinforce soil construction.
- Recycling nutrients (particularly P and K) and mobilizing them in the soil profile to be able to cause them to extra readily to be had to the next plants.
- Provide “organic tillage” of the soil; the roots of a few vegetation, especially cruciferous plants, like oil radish are pivotal and ready to penetrate compacted or very dense layers, increasing water percolation capability of the soil.
- Utilizing easily leached nutrients (particularly N).
Different crops, with diverse rooting programs, discover other soil depths within the profile. They may also be able to take in different amounts of nutrients and bring distinct root exudates (natural acids) leading to benefits each for the soil and for the organisms.
The presence of a mulch layer (of useless vegetation) in conservation agriculture inhibits the evaporation of soil moisture, yet results in better water infiltration into the soil profile. The share of rainwater that infiltrates the soil depends on the amount of soil quilt provided.
As other quilt plants produce other quantity of biomass, the density of the residues varies with other vegetation and thus the ability to increase water infiltration.
Vegetative quilt is essential in CA for the security of the soil towards the affects of raindrops; to stay the soil shaded; and maintain the perfect imaginable moisture content material. We have seen their importance for nutrient recycling; however they even have a physical and, in all probability, an allelopathic effect on weeds, depressing their occurrence and resulting in a reduction in agrochemical use and thus in manufacturing prices.
Straw residues function as a cushion that reduces the pressure on the soil below wheels and hooves and they play an important role in lowering soil compaction.