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Do cover crops change the lability of phosphorus in a clayey subtropical soil under different phosphate fertilizers?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/03/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Soil Use and Management
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)34-44
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date3/02/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Plants have developed different mechanisms to absorb and solubilize phosphorus (P) in the soil, especially in environments with low P availability. This study evaluated the effects of different winter cover crops on soil P availability in a clayey subtropical (Hapludox) soil receiving soluble P fertilizer and a rock phosphate applied to the summer crop, under no‐tillage. The experiment was carried out over 3 yrs (2009–2011) with five different cover crop species: common vetch, fodder radish, ryegrass, black oat, white clover and fallow as control. The soil was sampled after the third year of cover crop cultivation and analysed for inorganic and organic P forms according to the well‐established Hedley fractionation procedure. Phosphate fertilizers promoted accumulation of both labile and nonlabile P pools in soil in the near surface layer, especially under rock phosphate. Fertilizer applications were not able to change P fractions in deeper layers, emphasizing that the Brazilian clayey soils are a sink of P from fertilizer and its mobility is almost nil. Although the cover crops recycled a great amount of P in tissue, in a short‐term evaluation (3 yrs) they only changed the content of moderately labile P in soil, indicating that long‐term studies are needed for more conclusive results.