Mung beans enrich soil organic carbon in cereal-cereal cropping systems

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(Natural News) A study funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research revealed that mung beans (Vigna radiata) could be used to boost soil organic carbon levels in cereal-cereal cropping systems, ensuring their long-term sustainability. The study was published in the Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science.

  • The researchers posited that mung beans can be beneficial when used in soil amendments, in particular, in both lowland rice-wheat and upland maize-wheat systems.
  • They looked at the effect of mung bean inclusion in soil carbon pools, particulate organic carbon, and carbon stabilization.
  • When added to lowland and upland systems, mung beans improved very labile and labile carbon in surface soil (0–0.2 meters).
  • Mung beans, when added in cereal-cereal cropping systems, improved particulate organic carbon. This was noticeably higher in lowland systems (107.4 percent).
  • Lowland rice-based systems, on the other hand, had higher carbon pool levels (11.1 mg of carbon per hectare [mg C/ha]) than highland systems (6.6 mg C/ha). This meant that rice ecology is a factor in the stabilization of passive carbon pool, which has longer persistence in soil.
  • Organic nutrient treatments which included farmyard manure, full crop residues, and bio-fertilizers increased very labile carbon and carbon management index (CMI) more than inorganic treatments.
  • Surface soil revealed higher CMI values after mung bean inclusions in both upland and lowland conditions. In particular, it increased grain yield of cereal crops, with yield improvement occurring in the order of maize (23.7–31.3 percent) > rice (16.9–27.0 percent) > wheat (lowland 7.0–10.7 percent; upland 5.4–16.6 percent).

The researchers concluded that adding summer mung beans in cereal-cereal cropping systems can improve soil organic carbon levels.

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Journal Reference: 

Hazra KK, Ghosh PK, Venkatesh MS, Nath CP, Kumar N, Singh M, Singh J, Nadarajan N. IMPROVING SOIL ORGANIC CARBON POOLS THROUGH INCLUSION OF SUMMER MUNGBEAN IN CEREAL-CEREAL CROPPING SYSTEMS IN INDO-GANGETIC PLAIN. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. 2018;64(12):1690–1704. DOI: 10.1080/03650340.2018.1451638

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