How are arbuscular mycorrhizal associations related to maize growth performance during short-term cover crop rotation?J Sci Food Agric. 2018 Mar; 98(4):1388-1396.JS
Better cover crop management options aiming to maximize the benefits of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to subsequent crops are largely unknown. We investigated the impact of cover crop management methods on maize growth performance and assemblages of AMF colonizing maize roots in a field trial. The cover crop treatments comprised Italian ryegrass, wheat, brown mustard and fallow in rotation with maize.
The diversity of AMF communities among cover crops used for maize management was significantly influenced by the cover crop and time course. Cover crops did not affect grain yield and aboveground biomass of subsequent maize but affected early growth. A structural equation model indicated that the root colonization, AMF diversity and maize phosphorus uptake had direct strong positive effects on yield performance.
AMF variables and maize performance were related directly or indirectly to maize grain yield, whereas root colonization had a positive effect on maize performance. AMF may be an essential factor that determines the success of cover crop rotational systems. Encouraging AMF associations can potentially benefit cover cropping systems. Therefore, it is imperative to consider AMF associations and crop phenology when making management decisions. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.