Contribution of roots and shoots of Brachiaria species to soybean performance in succession

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of roots and straw of palisade grass (Urochloa brizantha) and Ruzi grass (U. ruziziensis), used as cover crops in autumn-winter, on soybean performance. Seven treatments were evaluated in a randomized complete block design, with four replicates: fallow, during autumn-winter; straw of U. ruziziensis or U. brizantha 'BRS Piatã', distributed in plots kept under fallow in the winter, without roots; plots only with roots of U. ruziziensis or U. brizantha, without straw; and plots with straw and roots of U. ruziziensis or U. brizantha. The grass species were planted during the 2014/2015 crop season, and treatments were evaluated at the end of the 2015/2016 crop season, without drought during the soybean cycle. The oil and protein contents of soybean grains were not affected significantly by the treatments. However, the cultivation of grass species during autumn-winter increased soybean grain yield in comparison with fallow. Grass root effects are more expressive than those of straw. The combined presence of roots and straw confers a better performance to soybean than the isolated presence of roots or straw.