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Forage plant mixture type interacts with soil moisture to affect soil nutrient availability in the short term

Shepperd, S., Thomson, A., Beaumont, D., Misselbrook, T., Jones, H., Reynolds, C. ORCID: and Lukac, M. ORCID: (2020) Forage plant mixture type interacts with soil moisture to affect soil nutrient availability in the short term. Experimental results, 1. e42. ISSN 2516-712X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/exp.2020.47


Agricultural intensification within forage systems has reduced grassland floral diversity by promoting ryegrass (Lolium spp.), damaging soil functionality which underpins critical ecosystem services. Diverse forage mixtures may enhance environmental benefits of pastures by decreasing nutrient leaching, increasing soil carbon storage, and with legume inclusion, reduce nitrogen fertilizer input. This UK study reports on how species-rich forage mixtures affect soil carbon, phosphorus, and nitrogen at dry, medium and wet soil moisture sites, compared to ryegrass monoculture. Increasing forage mixture diversity (from 1 to 17 species) affected soil carbon at the dry site. No effect of forage mixture on soil phosphorus was found, while forage mixture and site did interact to affect soil nitrate/nitrite availability. Results suggest that forage mixtures could be used to improve soil function, but longer-term studies are needed to conclusively demonstrate environmental and production benefits of high-diversity forages.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:95460
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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