Soil, crop cover and yield
A systematic understanding of the linkages between crop diversity, agricultural management and environmental factors such as climatic conditions and soil properties is key to the design of sustainable cropping systems. For 155 cereal fields with a high range of crop diversities across a 3,000-km north–south European gradient, the proportion of time with crop cover, regardless of its diversity, had a significantly positive impact on soil bacterial diversity, soil multifunctionality and crop yields. Increasing the proportion of time with crop cover, instead of increasing crop diversity within the rotation, could be a better approach to enhancing both yields and soil functioning, while providing habitat for soil microorganisms in European cropping systems.
See Garland et al.