ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 102, No. 1 (2015), p. 23–30
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2015.102.003

Properties of Luvisol and spring barley yield as affected by peas as a catch crop



The share of cereals in the total area of agricultural crops is currently too high, which leads to deterioration of soil properties and makes it difficult to obtain high yields. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of field pea grown as a catch crop on soil properties and yielding capacity of spring barley cultivated after the catch crop, in a cereal crop rotation. Three treatments of catch crop management were studied: A – catch crop ploughed in in the autumn, B – catch crop left as mulch for the winter, C – control (without a catch crop). Experiments were carried out on a Luvisol (LV) in a randomized block design. The catch crop biomass ploughed in significantly improved moisture and reduced compaction of the topsoil before sowing spring barley. Use of field pea as a catch crop increased enzymatic activity and mineral nitrogen content in the soil before sowing and during tillering of barley. The effect of mulch was stronger than that obtained in the treatment with biomass ploughed in in the autumn. Catch crop significantly improved the yield of spring barley, which was mainly due to increasing the number of spikes and grains per spike in barley grown after the catch crop ploughed in, and due to increasing the number of grains per spike in the treatments with mulch. Physical and biological properties of soil in cereal crop rotations may be substantially improved by catch crop, especially used as mulch. Catch crop influence on spring barley yield was independent of its management method.

Key words: field pea, green manure, mulch, soil microbial biomass, spring barley.

Full text:  102_1_str3.pdf