Scientia Agricultura Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (10): 1871-1880.doi: 10.3864/j.issn.0578-1752.2023.10.005


Meta-Analysis of Yield Effects and Influencing Factors of Cover Crops on Main Grain Crops in China

MA JiaYu1(), WANG Tao1, LIU XiaoLi2, WANG Li1, ZHANG XueCheng1, WANG WenTao3, KONG FanSheng1, HUANG XueJun1, WANG ZiYi1, WANG YanDong1(), ZHEN WenChao1()   

  1. 1 College of Agronomy, Hebei Agricultural University/State Key Laboratory of North China Crop Improvement and Regulation/Key Laboratory of North China Water-saving Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Key Laboratory of Crop Growth Regulation of Hebei Province, Baoding 071000, Hebei
    2 College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi
    3 College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083
  • Received:2022-07-31 Accepted:2022-10-13 Online:2023-05-16 Published:2023-05-17


【Objective】The objective of this study was to clarify the effect of cover cropping on the yield of main grain crops in China, and to investigate the significant influencing factors, so as to provide a scientific basis for the promotion and application of cover crops in China.【Method】A Meta-analysis including data from 903 pairwise observations from 137 publications from 1980 to 2022 was conducted to elucidate the effect of “fallow” versus “cover cropping” on yield of main grain crops. Meta regression was also conducted to explore the factors influencing the effect of cover crops on grain crops yield.【Result】Under cover crops, grain crop yields increased significantly by 12.2% compared to fallow, with wheat, rice and maize yields increasing significantly by 9.5%, 11.9%, and 19.6%, respectively. In addition, grain crop yields increased by 9.5% and 12.4% for winter and summer cover crops, respectively. Among the different types of cover crops, leguminous cover crops increased grain crop yields by 12.9% (February orchid 14.2%, Chinese milk vetch 11.8%, vetch 9.5%, pea 7.8%, soybean 7.4%), while cruciferous and gramineous cover crops increased grain crop yields by 9.3% and 8.3% (rape 7.0%, ryegrass 7.9%), respectively. However, compared with pure stands, cover crop mixtures more markedly increased grain crop yield by 17.3%. Furthermore, cover cropping years and sunshine hours significantly increased the effect of cover crops. High precipitation and temperature increased the effect of cover crops at high latitudes, while high precipitation and temperature decreased the effect of cover crops at low latitudes.【Conclusion】During the fallow period, cover crops mixtures contribute to increase grain crops yields, reduce surface exposure and make full use of solar, thermal, water and soil resources, especially during the northern summer and southern winter.

Key words: cover crop, grain crop, yield, Meta analysis

Fig. 1

Planting status of cover crops"

Fig. 2

Effects of cover crops on grain crop yields"

Fig. 3

Responses of different grain crops to cover crops"

Fig. 4

Effects of different cover crops on yield increase"

Fig. 5

Effect value analysis of the years of the experiment"

Table 1

Effects of climatic and geographical factors on grain yield increase of cover crops"

Moderator Estimate SE Z LCI UCI P QM PM
截距 Intercept 2.53986 0.41189 6.16636 0.00000 1.73257 3.34714
海拔 Altitude -0.00013 0.00002 -5.72593 0.00000 -0.00018 -0.00009 32.7862 <0.0001
降水 Precipitation -0.00067 0.00017 -3.99558 0.00006 -0.00099 -0.00034 15.9647 <0.0001
气温 Temperature -0.08484 0.01822 -4.65642 0.00000 -0.12055 -0.04913 21.6823 <0.0001
纬度 Latitude -0.05265 0.00858 -6.13938 0.00000 -0.06946 -0.03584 37.6920 <0.0001
日照时数 Sunshine time 0.00008 0.00002 3.52201 0.00043 0.00003 0.00012 12.4046 0.0004
经度 Longitude 0.00005 0.00221 0.02445 0.98049 -0.00427 0.00438 0.0006 0.9805
0.00001 0.00000 2.17938 0.02930 0.00000 0.00002 4.7497 0.0293
0.00115 0.00044 2.62439 0.00868 0.00029 0.00201 6.8874 0.0087

Fig. 6

Effects of precipitation, air temperature, sunshine duration, altitude and latitude on grain yield increase of cover crops"

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