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Open access

Concentrations and uptake of micronutrients by oat and pea in intercrops in response to N fertilization and sowing ratio

Konzentrationen und Aufnahme von Mikronährstoffen durch Hafer und Erbse in Gemengen in Abhängigkeit der N-Düngung und des Mischungsverhältnisses

Reinhard W. Neugschwandtner and Hans-Peter Kaul

Summary

Intercropping is of increasing interest in temperate regions. This study assessed the influence of nitrogen (N) fertilization and sowing ratio on concentrations and uptake of micronutrients copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn) in grain and residue of oat and pea in three substitutive intercrops on a fertile soil in eastern Austria. N increased grain concentrations of Cu and Zn in oat and pea but decreased the nutrient harvest indices especially for pea. Intercropping did not affect grain concentrations of oat but those of pea were increased in one year in intercrops with a lower pea share. Residue concentrations of Cu and Zn in oat were increased in intercrops with lower oat share. Pea residue concentrations of all four micronutrients were affected by intercropping. Slightly higher grain nutrient yields could be obtained for Mn and Zn in oat-dominated unfertilized intercrops, whereas the residue micronutrient yields were higher in all intercrops compared to pure stands because of generally higher nutrient concentrations in intercrops. Consequently, advantages of oat–pea intercrops for increasing micronutrient yield in grain were limited, but intercropping can be a strategy for increasing the micronutrient yield in residue that can be used for ruminant feeding.

Open access

Gernot Bodner, Axel Mentler, Andreas Klik, Hans-Peter Kaul and Sophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern

Summary

Cover cropping is a key agro-environmental measure in Europe. Cover crops may reduce N2O emissions by reducing soil nitrate content, while easily decomposable residues can enhance greenhouse gas losses. In a field study, emissions from the cover cropped fields compared to the fallow at two climatically different sites (semi-arid vs. humid) in Austria were measured with closed chambers and different driving factors were studied. The height of post-cover crop emissions was compared to gaseous losses during the management operations in the subsequent main crop maize. N2O and CO2 emissions following the cover crops were low even at high emission moments compared to the losses induced by the main crop management operations. Highest risk of N2O losses was from mustards due to low C/N ratio and possibly as a consequence of glucosinolate decomposition. CO2 emissions in the cover cropped plots were generally higher compared to the fallow, indicating an enhanced soil microbiological activity. Dissolved organic carbon was found as a sensitive indicator related to the greenhouse gas emissions. We concluded that the environmental benefits from cover cropping are not achieved at the cost of an enhanced greenhouse gas emission and that pure stands of late sown brassica cover crops should be avoided to prevent any risk of increased N2O losses.

Open access

Aliyeh Salehi, Sina Fallah, Reinhard W. Neugschwandtner, Bano Mehdi and Hans-Peter Kaul

Summary

Intercropping can increase crop growth and yield due to improved resource use efficiency. A two-year field experiment was performed in Shahrekord (Iran) to determine the effect of crop stand composition and fertilizer type on the productions of aboveground dry matter and growth parameters of fenugreek-buckwheat intercrops. Sole crops of fenugreek (F) and buckwheat (B) were compared to the three substitutive intercropping ratios (F:B = 2:1, 1:1 and 1:2). Crop stands were fertilized with chemical fertilizer or broiler litter. Fenugreek could produce in intercrops a similar amount of above-ground dry matter compared to its corresponding share on the sowing ratio. Contrary to that, buckwheat could produce in intercrops more above-ground dry matter than its share on the sowing ratio, especially with a low to medium share of buckwheat. Consequently, the intercrops with F:B (2:1) and F:B (1:1) had an above-ground dry matter yield advantage compared to the pure crop stands of both crops. Broiler litter was more effective in increasing the growth rates and thus the above-ground dry matter production compared to the chemical fertilizer. Thus, growing fenugreek and buckwheat in intercrops fertilized with broiler litter can be beneficial for increasing the biomass production in semiarid environments.