Sole cropping of legumes, resultant soil organic carbon and microbial biomass: A prerequiste to rotational benefit in cropping systems

Dr Ifeyinwa Uzoh1,2, Mr Chukwuebuka  Okolo3, Prof Olubukola Babalola1

1North-west University, Mafikeng, South Africa, Mafikeng, South Africa, 2University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria, 3Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Crop rotation requires the initial sole cropping particularly legumes as first crops. Therefore, the success of sole crops in improving soil properties determines the beneficial effect of crop rotations. Soil organic carbon and microbial biomass are employed in accessing the effect of crop management on soil properties. This research was conducted for two years in two locations of the derived savanna zone of Nigeria to assess the effect of sole cropping of grain legumes, herbaceous legume and maize on soil organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. The result showed that soil organic was only significantly (p<0.05%) affected in the second year in Moniya location by the sole crops. Velvet bean had the highest soil organic carbon with 25% improvement of over maize cropping. In the first year, soil microbial biomass N and P were significantly affected in UNN but only soil microbial biomass C in Moniya. In the second year, all the soil microbial biomass fractions were significantly affected by the sole cropping with velvet bean having improved these properties better than other sole crops. More so, 76% and 52% of variations in subsequent maize dry matter and grain yields were explained by soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, and soil microbial biomass carbon respectively.


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