Crop rotation effects on soil carbon and physical fertility of two Australian soils

  • Published source details Blair N. & Crocker G.J. (2000) Crop rotation effects on soil carbon and physical fertility of two Australian soils. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 38, 71-84.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use crop rotation

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Use crop rotation

    An experiment in 1997 on clay soils in New South Wales, Australia (Blair & Crocker 2000) found that crop rotation decreased soil organic carbon across all crop rotations (in two soil types) up to 71% compared to un-cropped controls. Including legumes like clover Trifolium subterraneum and lucerne Medicago sativa in rotations increased soil organic carbon levels by 41% and 32% respectively compared to wheat Triticum aestivum and long fallow controls, and 25% more than when grain legumes were included. Stability of soil aggregates was higher in continuous wheat than in rotations including lucerne, clover, and snail medic Medicago scutellata. A long-term rotation started in 1966 included six rotation treatments with three phases arranged in a 6 x 6 m plot (size/replication not specified). (1): lucerne followed by wheat. (2): lucerne or sorghum Sorghum bicolor on three plots, and a chickpea Cicer arietinum-wheat rotation, a wheat-long fallow rotation and continuous wheat on the remaining three. (3): cowpea Vigna unguiculata, clover or snail medic on three plots, and the same wheat rotations as for (2). Soil porosity was measured and soil samples were taken.


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