ECHOcommunity Conversations

GMCC / Crop Pairing Research Project


I’m one of the new interns at ECHO global farm for the 2022-23 year, taking care of the tropical highlands / mountain area :slight_smile:

For one of our intro courses, we have a research assignment to present a GMCC and crop pairing. I thought to ask on the ECHO community site if anyone out there has any questions or trial suggestions for GMCC and crop pairings that I could test out on the farm. It could be a pairing in the “good potential” category or an experimental / fallback one too.

If yes, please reply below! The presentation is due next month on July 19, so I have a couple weeks left to research and prepare for this assignment.

Thanks in advance!


I would be interested in you testing to know how various popular GMCC compare in the amount of root biomass they produce.

How about Sorghum/Pigeon Pea, both dryland crops. Welcome to ECHO, hope you have a great year!


Here in North Africa, in a Mediterranean climate zone, there is some good success in sowing and growing triticale, barley, and oats together with vetch, alfalfa (Medicago sativa), peas, fenugreek or other legumes in meslin-style mixes. They make great animal fodders, help with soil amelioration for both clay and limestone soils and support mycorrhizal associations and rhizobial establishment in olive orchards.

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Thanks Kimberly, for considering requests :slight_smile: Maybe perennial peanut with mulberry, but heck, perennial peanut with pretty much anything would be interesting :slight_smile:

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Here in central Zambia we have tried under sowing maize with velvet beans, jackbeans, red sunnhemp and teff (all individually). Not clear if they affected the yield, but sunnhemp and teff definitely reduce weed pressure. Plus, we have just started experimenting with “pasturing” our chickens in our maize field after harvest. They seem to enjoy any and all cover crops that are still green. We have also grown maize right next to 1-year-old pigeon pea and found good yields with 75% reduction in fertilizers. Would be interested in maize undersown with pretty much anything!

thank you Bob :slight_smile: I think another pair of interns are growing sorghum and cowpea already, so I’ll look into something else. but thanks for the suggestion!

Great question, @AFHGlen! I agree, that would be really interesting to study.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d be able to conduct research (within the scope of this assignment) studying root biomass across different cover crops, but I did look up an article that seems to have explored this topic (Science Direct: “Pea-based cover crop mixtures have greater plant belowground biomass, but lower plant aboveground biomass than a pure stand of pea”).

From what I gathered after a quick read-through, this study indicates that a pea-based cover crop mixture provides higher underground root biomass than just a pure field of peas. Albeit, planting a CC mixture may provide lower aboveground biomass but more stability than planting one CC species.

Here’s a link to / citation of the article if you (or anyone else) would like to read through it as well!
Lavergne, S., Vanasse, A., Thivierge, M. N., & Halde, C. (2021). Pea-based cover crop mixtures have greater plant belowground biomass, but lower plant aboveground biomass than a pure stand of pea. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 322, 107657.

That would be interesting to actually document perennial peanuts contribution to building soil health. There are quite a few people that do not think perennial peanut contributes much as a GM/CC.

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Thanks Mike … I wasn’t aware of this. I suppose those who believe it doesn’t contribute much have some evidence. I’ll have a look for such research. Thanks :slight_smile:

I found a couple of additional articles for the EC perennial peanut collection, including this 2022 article