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Intercropping with pulses to concentrate nitrogen and sulphur in wheat

Gooding, M. J., Kasyanova, E., Ruske, R., Hauggaard-Nielsen, H., Jensen, E. S., Dahlmann, C., Von Fragstein, P., Dibet, A., Corre-Hellou, G., Crozat, Y., Pristerf, A., Romeo, M., Monti, M. and Launay, M. (2007) Intercropping with pulses to concentrate nitrogen and sulphur in wheat. Journal of Agricultural Science, 145. pp. 469-479. ISSN 0021-8596

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/s0021859607007241


The effects of intercropping wheat with faba bean (Denmark, Germany, Italy and UK) and wheat with pea (France), in additive and replacement designs on grain nitrogen and sulphur concentrations were studied in field experiments in the 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05 growing seasons. Intercropping wheat with grain legumes regularly increased the nitrogen concentration of the cereal grain, irrespective of design or location. Sulphur concentration of the cereal was also increased by intercropping, but less regularly and to a lesser extent compared with effects on nitrogen concentration. Nitrogen concentration (g/kg) in wheat additively intercropped with faba bean was increased by 8% across all sites (weighted for inverse of variance), but sulphur concentration was only increased by 4%, so N:S ratio was also increased by 4%. Intercropping wheat with grain legumes increased sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS)-sedimentation volume. The effect of intercropping on wheat nitrogen concentration was greatest when intercropping had the most deleterious effect on wheat yield and the least deleterious effect on pulse yield. Over all sites and seasons, and irrespective of whether the design was additive or replacement, increases in crude protein concentration in the wheat of 10 g/kg by intercropping with faba bean were associated with 25-30% yield reduction of the wheat, compared with sole-cropped wheat. It was concluded that the increase in protein concentration of wheat grain in intercrops could be of economic benefit when selling wheat for breadmaking, but only if the bean crop was also marketed effectively.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:8600

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