We investigated the relationship between cover crop quantity and quality on soil organic carbon mineralization through comparing experimental and modeled data of fallow and cover crop residue (pea, oat, canola).
We found higher rates of soil organic carbon mineralization with larger quantities of residue. Furthermore there was little difference in soil organic carbon mineralization between residue types, however canola and peas were observed to have more rapid rates of decomposition.
The following indicates advantages of cover crop residues for accumulating soil organic carbon, with greater residue amounts resulting in greater accumulation, and residue quality impacting the rate of decomposition and in turn the availability of nutrients for the following crop.
Publication: Ghimire, B. R. Ghimire, A.O. Mesbah, and D. VanLeeuwen. (2017). Cover crop residue inputs and quality effects on soil organic matter mineralization. Sustainability, 9(12), 2316.