Cover crops 1/2


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In the context of sustainable agriculture, a cover crop is an annual, biennial, or perennial plant grown to improve a number of conditions. Cover crops are tools used to manage soil fertility, soil quality, water, , , diseases, diversity and in agroecosystems.
Agroecosystems are ecological systems by humans to produce food, , or fiber. Humans the ecological structure and function of natural processes that in agroecosystems. As agroecosystems often interact with neighboring natural ecosystems in agricultural landscapes so cover crops that improve the sustainability of agroecosystem attributes may also indirectly qualities of neighboring natural ecosystems.

Cover crops known as “green ” are grown and incorporated into the soil before full maturity. They are intended to improve soil fertility and quality. They are commonly leguminous, meaning they are part of the fabaceae (pea) family. This family is unique in that all of the species in it set , such as , lentils, lupins and . Leguminous cover crops are typically high in nitrogen and can often provide the required quantity of nitrogen for crop production that might normally be applied in chemical fertilizer form. Another quality unique to leguminous cover crops is that they form symbiotic relationships with rhizobial bacteria that reside in legume root nodules. Lupins are nodulated by soil microorganisms called bradyrhizobia. These bacteria convert biologically unavailable atmospheric nitrogen gas to biologically available mineral nitrogen through the process of biological nitrogen fixation.

Adapted from Wikipedia.
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