Absence of a home‑field advantage within a short‑rotation arable cropping system

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Whitmore, A. P., Mortimer, S., Shu, X. and Sizmur, T. 2022. Absence of a home‑field advantage within a short‑rotation arable cropping system. Plant and Soil. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-022-05419-z

AuthorsWhitmore, A. P., Mortimer, S., Shu, X. and Sizmur, T.

The home-feld advantage (HFA) hypothesis predicts faster decomposition of plant residues in home soil compared to soils with diferent plants (away), and has been demonstrated in forest and grassland ecosystems. It remains unclear if this legacy efect applies to crop residue decomposition in
arable crop rotations. Such knowledge could improve our understanding of decomposition dynamics in arable soils and may allow optimisation of crop residue amendments in arable systems by cleverly combining crop-residue rotations with crop rotations to increase the amount of residue-derived C persisting in soil.
We tested the HFA hypothesis in a reciprocal transplant experiment with mesh bags containing wheat and oilseed rape residues in soils at three stages of a short-rotation cropping system. Subsets of mesh bags were retrieved monthly for six months to determine residue decomposition rates, concomitantly measuring soil available N, microbial community structure (phospholipid fatty acid analysis), and microbial activity (Tea Bag Index protocol) to assess how plants may infuence litter decomposition rates via alterations to soil biochemical properties and microbial communities.
The residues decomposed at similar rates at all rotational stages. Thorough data investigation using several statistical approaches revealed no HFA within the crop rotation. Soil microbial community structures were similar at all rotational stages.
We attribute the absence of an HFA to the shortness of the rotation and soil disturbance involved in intensive agricultural practices. It is therefore unlikely that appreciable benefts could be obtained in short conventionally managed arable rotations by introducing a crop-residue rotation.

KeywordsHome-field advantage ; Decomposition; Crop residues; Legacy effect; Arable cropping system
Year of Publication2022
JournalPlant and Soil
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-022-05419-z
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Apr 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Mar 2022

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