ResearchPad - intercropping https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Optimizing planting geometry for barley-Egyptian clover intercropping system in semi-arid sub-tropical climate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14568 Intercropping legumes with cereals has been a common cropping system in short-season rainfed environments due to its increased productivity and sustainability. Intercropping barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with Egyptian clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) could increase the grain yield of barley and improve resource use efficiency of the intercropping system. However, non-optimum planting geometry has been a hurdle in the adaptation of barley-based cropping systems. This study was aimed at optimizing the planting geometry, and assess the productivity and profitability of barley-Egyptian clover intercropping system. Ten different planting geometries, differing in number of rows of barley, width and number of irrigation furrows and planting method were tested. Intercropping barley with Egyptian clover improved 56–68% grain yield of barley compared with mono-cropped barley. Barley remained dominant crop in terms of aggressiveness, relative crowding coefficient and competitive ratio. The amount of water used was linearly increased with increasing size of barley strip from 3 to 8 rows. The highest water use efficiency (4.83 kg/cf3) was recorded for 8-row barley strip system with 120 cm irrigation furrows compared to rest of the planting geometries. In conclusion, 8-rows of barley planted on beds with Egyptian clover in 120 cm irrigation furrows had the highest net income and cost benefit ratio. Therefore, it is recommended that this planting geometry can be used for better economic returns of barley-Egyptian clover intercropping system. However, barley strips with >8 rows were not included in this study, which is limitation of the current study. Therefore, future studies with >8 barley rows in strip should be conducted to infer the economic feasibility and profitability of wider barley strips.

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<![CDATA[Impacts of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on nutrient uptake, N2 fixation, N transfer, and growth in a wheat/faba bean intercropping system]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c900d39d5eed0c48407e3a9

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can play a key role in natural and agricultural ecosystems affecting plant nutrition, soil biological activity and modifying the availability of nutrients by plants. This research aimed at expanding the knowledge of the role played by AMF in the uptake of macro- and micronutrients and N transfer (using a 15N stem-labelling method) in a faba bean/wheat intercropping system. It also investigates the role of AMF in biological N fixation (using the natural isotopic abundance method) in faba bean grown in pure stand and in mixture. Finally, it examines the role of AMF in driving competition and facilitation between faba bean and wheat. Durum wheat and faba bean were grown in pots (five pots per treatment) as sole crops or in mixture in the presence or absence of AMF. Root colonisation by AMF was greater in faba bean than in wheat and increased when species were mixed compared to pure stand (particularly for faba bean). Mycorrhizal symbiosis positively influenced root biomass, specific root length, and root density and increased the uptake of P, Fe, and Zn in wheat (both in pure stand and in mixture) but not in faba bean. Furthermore, AMF symbiosis increased the percentage of N derived from the atmosphere in the total N biomass of faba bean grown in mixture (+20%) but not in pure stand. Nitrogen transfer from faba bean to wheat was low (2.5–3.0 mg pot-1); inoculation with AMF increased N transfer by 20%. Overall, in terms of above- and belowground growth and uptake of nutrients, mycorrhization favoured the stronger competitor in the mixture (wheat) without negatively affecting the companion species (faba bean). Results of this study confirm the role of AMF in driving biological interactions among neighbouring plants.

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<![CDATA[Rubber and plantain intercropping: Effects of different planting densities on soil characteristics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa550d5eed0c484ca2efd

Two field experiments were conducted at Ellembelle and Jomoro districts in the Western region of Ghana where rubber cultivation is a predominant farming activity. The objective of the study was to assess the effect of rubber and plantain intercropping systems on selected soil properties. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 3 replications. The treatments were the sole crop rubber (R), sole crop plantain (P) and three intercrop systems comprising an additive series of plantain: one row of plantain to one row of rubber (PR), two rows of plantain to one row of rubber (PPR) and three rows of plantain to one row of rubber (PPPR). Generally, agroforestry systems improved the soil hydraulic properties considerably, with the highest cumulative infiltration rates of 5.16 and 8.68 cm/min observed under the PPPR systems at the Ellembelle and Jomoro sites, respectively. Microbial biomass C (Cmic), N (Nmic) and P (Pmic) was significantly improved (P < 0.05) under the agroforestry than the monocrop systems. The Cmic, Nmic and Pmic values were highest under the PPPR system at both Ellembelle (Cmic, = 139.9 mg/kg; Nmic = 36.26 mg/kg and Pmic = 87.6 mg/kg) and Jomoro (Cmic = 78.7 mg/kg; Nmic = 80.3 mg/kg and Pmic = 3.45 mg/kg) sites.

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<![CDATA[Suitability Analysis and Projected Climate Change Impact on Banana and Coffee Production Zones in Nepal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1dab0ee8fa60b7d8d9

The Government of Nepal has identified opportunities in agricultural commercialization, responding to a growing internal demand and expansion of export markets to reduce the immense trade deficit. Several cash crops, including coffee and bananas, have been identified in the recently approved Agriculture Development Strategy. Both of these crops have encouraged smallholder farmers to convert their subsistence farming practices to more commercial cultivation. Identification of suitable agro-ecological zones and understanding climate-related issues are important for improved production and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Here, the suitability of coffee and banana crops is analyzed for different agro-ecological zones represented by Global Environmental Stratification (GEnS). Future shifts in these suitability zones are also predicted. Plantation sites in Nepal were geo-referenced and used as input in species distribution modelling. The multi-model ensemble model suggests that climate change will reduce the suitable growing area for coffee by about 72% across the selected emission scenarios from now to 2050. Impacts are low for banana growing, with a reduction in suitability by about 16% by 2050. Bananas show a lot of potential for playing an important role in Nepal as a sustainable crop in the context of climate change, as this study indicates that the amount of area suited to banana growing will grow by 40% by 2050. Based on our analysis we recommend possible new locations for coffee plantations and one method for mitigating climate change-related problems on existing plantations. These findings are expected to support planning and policy dialogue for mitigation and support better informed and scientifically based decision-making relating to these two crops.

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<![CDATA[Soil Chemical Property Changes in Eggplant/Garlic Relay Intercropping Systems under Continuous Cropping]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db45ab0ee8fa60bd8460

Soil sickness is a critical problem for eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) under continuous cropping that affects sustainable eggplant production. Relay intercropping is a significant technique on promoting soil quality, improving eco-environment, and raising output. Field experiments were conducted from September 2010 to November 2012 in northwest China to determine the effects of relay intercropping eggplant with garlic (Allium sativum L.) on soil enzyme activities, available nutrient contents, and pH value under a plastic tunnel. Three treatments were in triplicate using randomized block design: eggplant monoculture (CK), eggplant relay intercropping with normal garlic (NG) and eggplant relay intercropping with green garlic (GG). The major results are as follows: (1) the activities of soil invertase, urease, and alkaline phosphatase were generally enhanced in NG and GG treatments; (2) relay intercropping significantly increased the soil available nutrient contents, and they were mostly higher in GG than NG. On April 11, 2011, the eggplant/garlic co-growth stage, the available nitrogen content in GG was 76.30 mg·kg−1, significantly higher than 61.95 mg·kg−1 in NG. For available potassium on April 17, 2012, they were 398.48 and 387.97 mg·kg−1 in NG and GG, both were significantly higher than 314.84 mg·kg−1 in CK; (3) the soil pH showed a significantly higher level in NG treatment, but lower in GG treatment compared with CK. For the last samples in 2012, soil pH in NG and GG were 7.70 and 7.46, the highest and lowest one among them; (4) the alkaline phosphatase activity and pH displayed a similar decreasing trend with continuous cropping. These findings indicate that relay intercropping eggplant with garlic could be an ideal farming system to effectively improve soil nutrient content, increase soil fertility, and alleviate soil sickness to some extent. These findings are important in helping to develop sustainable eggplant production.

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<![CDATA[Water use efficiency and evapotranspiration in maize-soybean relay strip intercrop systems as affected by planting geometries]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be04ec

Optimum planting geometries have been shown to increase crop yields in maize-soybean intercrop systems. However, little is known about whether changes in planting geometry improve the seasonal water use of maize and soybean intercrops. We conducted two different field experiments in 2013 and 2014 to investigate the effects of changes in planting geometry on water use efficiency (WUE) and evapotranspiration (ETc) of maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] relay strip intercrop systems. Our results showed that the leaf area index of maize for both years where intercropping occurred was notably greater compared to sole maize, thus the soil water content (SWC), soil evaporation (E), and throughfall followed a decreasing trend in the following order: central row of maize strip (CRM) < adjacent row between maize and soybean strip (AR) < central row of soybean strip (CRS). When intercropped, the highest grain yield for maize and total yields were recorded for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries using 160 cm and 200 cm bandwidth, respectively. By contrast, the highest grain yield of intercropped soybean was appeared for the 20:140 cm and 20:180 cm planting geometries. The largest land equivalent ratios were 1.62 for the 40:120 cm planting geometry and 1.79 for the 40:160 cm planting geometry, indicating that both intercropping strategies were advantageous. Changes in planting geometries did not show any significant effect on the ETc of the maize and soybean intercrops. WUEs in the different planting geometries of intercrop systems were lower compared to sole cropping. However, the highest group WUEs of 23.06 and 26.21 kg ha-1 mm-1 for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries, respectively, were 39% and 23% higher than those for sole cropping. Moreover, the highest water equivalent ratio values of 1.66 and 1.76 also appeared for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries. We therefore suggest that an optimum planting geometry of 40:160 cm and bandwidth of 200 cm could be a viable planting pattern management method for attaining high group WUE in maize-soybean intercrop systems.

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<![CDATA[PAR Interception and Utilization in Different Maize and Soybean Intercropping Patterns]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2aab0ee8fa60b8201b

The crop intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and radiation use efficiency (RUE) vary markedly in different intercropping systems. The HHLA (horizontally homogeneous leaf area) and ERCRT (extended row crop radiation transmission) models have been established to calculate the intercepted PAR for intercrops. However, there is still a lack of study on the intercepted PAR and RUE under different intercropping configurations using different models. To evaluate the intercepted PAR and RUE in maize and soybean under different intercropping systems, we tested different strip intercropping configurations (SI1, SI2, and SI3 based on ERCRT model) and a row intercropping configurations (RI based on HHLA model) in comparison to monoculture. Our results showed that the intercepted PAR and RUE of intercropping systems were all higher than those of monoculture. The soybean intercepted PAR in strip intercropping was 1.35 times greater than that in row intercropping. In row intercropping (RI), the lack of soybean intercepted PAR resulted in a significant reduction of soybean dry matter. Therefore, it is not the recommended configuration for soybean. In strip intercropping patterns, with the distance between maize strip increased by 0.2 m, the intercepted PAR of soybean increased by 20%. The SI2 (maize row spacing at 0.4 m and the distance between maize strip at 1.6 m) was the recommended configuration to achieve the highest value of intercepted PAR and RUE among tested strip intercropping configurations. The method of dry matter estimation using intercepted PAR and RUE is useful in simulated experiments. The simulated value was verified in comparison with experimental data, which confirmed the credibility of the simulation model. Moreover, it also provides help in the development of functional-structural plant model (FSPM).

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<![CDATA[From Observation to Information: Data-Driven Understanding of on Farm Yield Variation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e0ab0ee8fa60b696b6

Agriculture research uses “recommendation domains” to develop and transfer crop management practices adapted to specific contexts. The scale of recommendation domains is large when compared to individual production sites and often encompasses less environmental variation than farmers manage. Farmers constantly observe crop response to management practices at a field scale. These observations are of little use for other farms if the site and the weather are not described. The value of information obtained from farmers’ experiences and controlled experiments is enhanced when the circumstances under which it was generated are characterized within the conceptual framework of a recommendation domain, this latter defined by Non-Controllable Factors (NCFs). Controllable Factors (CFs) refer to those which farmers manage. Using a combination of expert guidance and a multi-stage analytic process, we evaluated the interplay of CFs and NCFs on plantain productivity in farmers’ fields. Data were obtained from multiple sources, including farmers. Experts identified candidate variables likely to influence yields. The influence of the candidate variables on yields was tested through conditional forests analysis. Factor analysis then clustered harvests produced under similar NCFs, into Homologous Events (HEs). The relationship between NCFs, CFs and productivity in intercropped plantain were analyzed with mixed models. Inclusion of HEs increased the explanatory power of models. Low median yields in monocropping coupled with the occasional high yields within most HEs indicated that most of these farmers were not using practices that exploited the yield potential of those HEs. Varieties grown by farmers were associated with particular HEs. This indicates that farmers do adapt their management to the particular conditions of their HEs. Our observations confirm that the definition of HEs as recommendation domains at a small-scale is valid, and that the effectiveness of distinct management practices for specific micro-recommendation domains can be identified with the methodologies developed.

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<![CDATA[Legumes Can Increase Cadmium Contamination in Neighboring Crops]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da73ab0ee8fa60b95cac

Legumes are widely used in many cropping systems because they share their nitrogen fixation products and phosphorus mobilization activities with their neighbors. In the current study, however, we showed that co-cultivation with legumes increased cadmium (Cd) contamination in the adjacent crops. Both field and mesocosm experiments indicated that legumes increased Cd levels in edible parts and shoots of four neighboring crops and five maize varieties tested, regardless of the Cd levels in the soil. This enhanced Cd accumulation in crops was attributed to root interactions that alter the rhizosphere environment. Co-cultivation with legumes reduced soil pH, which somewhat increased the exchangeable forms of Cd. Our results have demonstrated the inevitable increases in Cd levels of crops as a direct result of co-cultivation with legumes even under situations when these levels are below the permissible threshold. With this new revelation, we need to consider carefully the current cropping systems involving legumes and perhaps to re-design the current and future cropping systems in view of avoiding food contamination by Cd.

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<![CDATA[Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)/Maize (Zea mays L.) Intercropping Provides a Feasible Way to Improve Yield and Economic Incomes in Farming and Pastoral Areas of Northeast China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d6ab0ee8fa60b65ff9

Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization. In order to assess the performance of various intercropping modes of maize and alfalfa, a field experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with five treatments: maize monoculture in even rows, maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows, alfalfa monoculture, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows and maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in wide rows. Results demonstrate that maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows performed best for light transmission, grain yield and output value, compared to in even rows. When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes. These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

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<![CDATA[Variation of Bacterial Community Diversity in Rhizosphere Soil of Sole-Cropped versus Intercropped Wheat Field after Harvest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9deab0ee8fa60b689ae

As the major crops in north China, spring crops are usually planted from April through May every spring and harvested in fall. Wheat is also a very common crop traditionally planted in fall or spring and harvested in summer year by year. This continuous cropping system exhibited the disadvantages of reducing the fertility of soil through decreasing microbial diversity. Thus, management of microbial diversity in the rhizosphere plays a vital role in sustainable crop production. In this study, ten common spring crops in north China were chosen sole-cropped and four were chosen intercropped with peanut in wheat fields after harvest. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing of one 16S rDNA fragment were used to analyze the bacterial diversity and species identification. DGGE profiles showed the bacterial community diversity in rhizosphere soil samples varied among various crops under different cropping systems, more diverse under intercropping system than under sole-cropping. Some intercropping-specific bands in DGGE profiles suggested that several bacterial species were stimulated by intercropping systems specifically. Furthermore, the identification of these dominant and functional bacteria by DNA sequencing indicated that intercropping systems are more beneficial to improve soil fertility. Compared to intercropping systems, we also observed changes in microbial community of rhizosphere soil under sole-crops. The rhizosphere bacterial community structure in spring crops showed a strong crop species-specific pattern. More importantly, Empedobacter brevis, a typical plant pathogen, was only found in the carrot rhizosphere, suggesting carrot should be sown prudently. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that crop species and cropping systems had significant effects on bacterial community diversity in the rhizosphere soils. We strongly suggest sorghum, glutinous millet and buckwheat could be taken into account as intercropping crops with peanut; while hulled oat, mung bean or foxtail millet could be considered for sowing in wheat fields after harvest in North China.

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<![CDATA[The Kill Date as a Management Tool for Cover Cropping Success]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f2ab0ee8fa60b6ef68

Integrating cover crops (CC) in rotations provides multiple ecological services, but it must be ensured that management does not increase pre-emptive competition with the subsequent crop. This experiment was conducted to study the effect of kill date on: (i) CC growth and N content; (ii) the chemical composition of residues; (iii) soil inorganic N and potentially mineralizable N; and (iv) soil water content. Treatments were fallow and a CC mixture of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and vetch (Vicia sativa L.) sown in October and killed on two different dates in spring. Above-ground biomass and chemical composition of CC were determined at harvest, and ground cover was monitored based on digital image analysis. Soil mineral N was determined before sowing and after killing the CC, and potentially mineralizable N was measured by aerobic incubation at the end of the experiment. Soil water content was monitored daily to a depth of 1.1 m using capacitance sensors. Under the present conditions of high N availability, delaying kill date increased barley above-ground biomass and N uptake from deep soil layers; little differences were observed in vetch. Postponing kill date increased the C/N ratio and the fiber content of plant residues. Ground cover reached >80% by the first kill date (∼1250°C days). Kill date was a means to control soil inorganic N by balancing the N retained in the residue and soil, and showed promise for mitigating N losses. The early kill date decreased the risk of water and N pre-emptive competition by reducing soil depletion, preserving rain harvested between kill dates and allowing more time for N release in spring. The soil potentially mineralizable N was enhanced by the CC and kill date delay. Therefore kill date is a crucial management variable for maximizing the CC benefits in agricultural systems.

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<![CDATA[Interplanting Annual Ryegrass, Wheat, Oat, and Corn to Mitigate Iron Deficiency in Dry Beans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da06ab0ee8fa60b75b82

This study evaluated whether grass intercropping can be used to alleviate Fe deficiency chlorosis in dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) grown in high pH, calcareous soils with low organic matter. Field studies were conducted at the University of Wyoming Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center in 2009 and 2010. Black- and navy beans were grown alone or intercropped with annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), oat (Avena sativa L.), corn (Zea mays L.), or spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in a two-factor factorial strip-plot randomized complete block design. All four grass species increased chlorophyll intensity in dry beans. However, grass species did not increase iron (Fe) concentration in dry bean tissues suggesting inefficient utilization of Fe present in the dry bean tissues. In 2009, nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) and manganese (Mn) concentration in bean tissue were greater in bean monoculture than in grass intercropped beans. Bean monoculture also had greater soil NO3-N concentrations than grass intercropped treatments. In 2009, grass intercrops reduced dry bean yield >25% compared to bean monoculture. Annual ryegrass was the least competitive of the four annual grass species. This suggests that competition from grasses for nutrients, water, or light may have outweighed benefits accruing from grass intercropping. Additional studies are required to determine the appropriate grass and dry bean densities, as well as the optimum time of grass removal.

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