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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 593623, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/593623
Research Article

Effects of Monoculture, Crop Rotation, and Soil Moisture Content on Selected Soil Physicochemical and Microbial Parameters in Wheat Fields

1Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Institute for Plant Production, Private Bag X1, Elsenburg 7607, South Africa
2Biometry Unit, Agricultural Research Council, Private Bag X5013, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
3Department of Microbiology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa

Received 28 June 2012; Accepted 28 August 2012

Academic Editor: D. L. Jones

Copyright © 2012 A. Marais et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Different plants are known to have different soil microbial communities associated with them. Agricultural management practices such as fertiliser and pesticide addition, crop rotation, and grazing animals can lead to different microbial communities in the associated agricultural soils. Soil dilution plates, most-probable-number (MPN), community level physiological profiling (CLPP), and buried slide technique as well as some measured soil physicochemical parameters were used to determine changes during the growing season in the ecosystem profile in wheat fields subjected to wheat monoculture or wheat in annual rotation with medic/clover pasture. Statistical analyses showed that soil moisture had an over-riding effect on seasonal fluctuations in soil physicochemical and microbial populations. While within season soil microbial activity could be differentiated between wheat fields under rotational and monoculture management, these differences were not significant.