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Title: Modelling interactions between cowpea cover crops and residue retention in Australian dryland cropping systems under climate change
Contributor(s): He, Qinsi (author); Liu, De Li  (author); Wang, Bin (author); Cowie, Annette  (author); Simmons, Aaron  (author)orcid ; Waters, Cathy  (author); Li, Linchao (author); Feng, Puyu (author); Li, Yi (author); Voil, Peter de (author); Huete, Alfredo (author); Yu, Qiang (author)
Publication Date: 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2023.108536
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Conservation agriculture management practices (e.g., cover crops and residue retention) have been widely promoted to improve soil quality and environmental sustainability. However, little is known about the long-term interactive effects of cover crops and residue retention on yield of the cash crops and environmental outcomes in dryland cropping systems under climate change. We used the pre-validated APSIM model, driven by statistically downscaled daily climate data from 27 Global Climate Models (GCMs) under two Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP245 and SSP585), to assess the combined influences of cowpea cover crops and three residue retention levels on soil water balance, soil organic carbon (SOC), nitrogen (N) dynamics, crop yield and gross margin across six crop rotation systems during the historical period (1985–2020), near future (2021–2056), and far future (2057–2092) in southeast Australia. Our results showed that, on average, cover crops decreased soil moisture on the day of sowing the succeeding cash crop (by 22%), but led to greater SOC stock (21%), reduced N loss through leaching (71%), and enhanced N uptake and yield of cereals, but decreased N uptake and yield of field pea. The effects of cover crops on yield and gross margin became more positive in the far future under both SSPs, which may be attributed to the SOC increase and greater N availability in the long term. These benefits were more evident under residue removal due to the partly compensatory effects from cover crop residues. Furthermore, cover crops were profitable in the wetter parts of the study region (east), but reduced gross margin in the drier west due to depletion of soil water reserves for the next cash crop. We conclude that particularly where residues are removed, the long-term adoption of cowpea cover crops could be a potential practice to sustain crop productivity with environmental co-benefits under climate change in the wetter parts of the dryland cropping region of southeast Australia.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, v.353, p. 1-14
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 1873-2305
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: tbd
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science
UNE Business School

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