Nitrogen leaching and residual effect of barley/field bean intercropping M., Masoni A., Ercoli L., Arduini I. (2015): Nitrogen leaching and residual effect of barley/field bean intercropping. Plant Soil Environ., 61: 60-65.
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Cereal/legume intercropping may improve resource use efficiency in agroecosystems and increase yield per unit surface area and yield stability. Two field bean (Vicia faba L.) and four barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars were mono- and intercropped (additive design) in a 2-year lysimeter experiment on a sandy loam soil. The aim was to test the effect of the cropping system on dry matter and N yield of forage, the residual effect on the subsequent ryegrass crop (Lolium multiflorum Lam. westerwoldicum), and NO3-N leaching in the rotation. Land equivalent ratios were 1.65 for dry matter and 1.67 for N yield, indicating a clear advantage of the intercrop over sole crops. Both species suffered from competition, especially in terms of N resources, but barley was less affected. Nitrate leaching was the lowest from intercrop. Preceding crop significantly affected dry matter, N content and NO3-N leaching of ryegrass. Field bean sole crop gave the highest benefits to ryegrass in terms of forage dry matter and N content, but also the highest NO3-N leaching, followed by the intercrop and the barley sole crop. Barley/field bean intercropping may be an effective strategy to reduce land requirements, N leaching losses and fertilizer inputs, thereby increasing the sustainability of farming systems.
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