Crop rotation, but not cover crops, influenced soil bacterial community composition in a corn-soybean system in southern Wisconsin

Lindsay A. Chamberlain, Marian L. Bolton, Madison S. Cox, Garret Suen, Shawn P. Conley, Jean Michel Ané

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Crop rotation, the successive cultivation of different crops on the same field, has been practiced for centuries, and it is often associated with increased crop yields. Cover cropping is a less ubiquitous farming practice that also increases plant biodiversity over time. Cover crops are a soil conservation tool; they are grown between harvest and planting of the main crop to protect and enrich the soil. Increasing crop diversity with crop rotation and cover cropping may contribute to shifts in soil bacterial communities. Our first objective was to investigate the soil bacterial communities associated with growing corn (Zea mays L.) or soybean (Glycine max L.) continuously versus annually rotating these crops. Our second objective was to determine if the first season of cover cropping had an impact on soil bacteria in a corn-soybean system. Soil was collected from a long-term crop rotational study with continuous corn, continuous soybean, and annually rotated corn-soybean treatments. These rotation treatments had various cover crops established within each plot, which were sampled individually. Bacterial communities were estimated in each sample by extracting DNA and sequencing the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. We found that soil pH, organic matter, and certain macronutrients were essential drivers in determining the composition of bulk soil bacterial communities. Continuously cropped corn and soybean had distinct bacterial communities, while annually rotated communities were similar in both crop phases. The incorporation of cover crops into the rotation system did not result in significant changes to the bulk soil bacterial community. This result was probably due to limited cover crop growth in the first year of establishment, and a limited amount of time for soil communities to respond to this change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103603
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Volume154
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was performed using the computing resources and assistance of the UW-Madison Center For High Throughput Computing (CHTC) in the Department of Computer Sciences. The CHTC is supported by UW-Madison, the Advanced Computing Initiative, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, and the National Science Foundation, and is an active member of the Open Science Grid, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. This work was supported by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and a USDA AFRI Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative Predoctoral Fellowship No. 2018-67011-27997 to Madison S. Cox.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and a USDA AFRI Food , Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative Predoctoral Fellowship No. 2018-67011-27997 to Madison S. Cox.

Funding Information:
This research was performed using the computing resources and assistance of the UW-Madison Center For High Throughput Computing (CHTC) in the Department of Computer Sciences. The CHTC is supported by UW-Madison, the Advanced Computing Initiative, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, and the National Science Foundation, and is an active member of the Open Science Grid, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Keywords

  • 16S Miseq rRNA sequencing
  • Bacterial communities
  • Cover crops
  • Crop rotation
  • Soil microbiome

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