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    Author(s): Wei Yang; Gary Feng; John J. Read; Ying Ouyang; Jianjun Han; Pinfang Li
    Date: 2020
    Source: Agronomy Journal
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (488.0 KB)


    The effect of cover crop (CC) on soil water balance and agricultural production is
    closely related to rainfall amount and distribution in rainfed cropping systems. This
    study used the root zone water quality model, RZWQM2, calibrated and validated
    with 4-yr field measurements to predict the effect of planting a winter wheat (Triticum
    aestivum L.) CC in a no-till rainfed corn (Zea mays L.)–soybean (Glycine max L.)
    rotation on soil water balance, crop yield, and grain water-use efficiency (WUE) in
    northeast Mississippi. Seasonal rainfall for 80 consecutive years (1938–2017) was
    classified as ‘wet,’ ‘normal,’ and ‘dry’ years using frequency analysis, and the data
    sets matched chronologically to wheat, corn, and soybean growth periods were used
    as an input parameter in RZWQM2 simulations. During autumn and spring (early
    October to early April), the CC reduced deep drainage by 69 (11%), 53 (15%), and
    51 mm (21%) in wet, normal, and dry years, respectively. Averaged across 40 yr,
    the CC decreased surface evaporation by 64 (32%) and 38 mm (24%) for corn and
    soybean growth periods, respectively. Wheat CC also improved soil water storage
    in early crop growth period during April–June in any of the three rainfall patterns.
    Regardless of rainfall patterns, the increase in WUE can be attributed to a decrease
    in evapotranspiration during cash crop period without sacrificing cash crop yield in
    the CC system. Introducing CC into cropping systems is beneficial to reduce annual
    deep drainage and evaporation while maintaining higher crop yields under different
    rainfall patterns.

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    Yang, Wei; Feng, Gary; Read, John J.; Ouyang, Ying; Han, Jianjun; Li, Pinfang. 2020. Impact of cover crop on corn–soybean productivity and soil water dynamics under different seasonal rainfall patterns. Agronomy Journal. 112(2): 1201-1215.


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    cover crop, evapotranspiration, RZWQM2, water-use efficiency

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