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Project: Determining the influence of cover crops on soybean production and environmental life cycle assessment 2017-2019

Cover crops (CC) are common in Austria and other countries where governmental subsidies support this practice, but little research is done on their influence of soybean growth. CC protecting the soil from erosion, providing habitat for soil biota, stabilizing the soil structure and secure therefore soybean yields. But a lack of practical experience on farmer side and the cost of CC seeds are increasing the financial risk and the reservations against seeding CC. Especially in European countries without governmental subsidies the use of CC is marginal, but the demand for European soybean protein is still increasing. Hence, a sustainable soybean production is demanded. We plan to  investigate a variety of CC and their potential to provide macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphor and sulphur for subsequent soybeans, whether by solubilizing, fixation, accumulation or degradation. From an environmental and agricultural engineering point of view, the use of CC to increase soybean yields poses an interesting research question: Do the environmental benefits of CC outweigh their additional environmental impacts? The issue of net  environmental impacts of CC before soybeans has not yet been the topic of a life cycle study.

Project timeline: 2017 - May 2019

CASEE members involved

  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria
  • Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic
  • Banat University Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Timişoara, Romania
  • University of Novi Sad, Serbia

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