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Intercropping of wheat and pea as influenced by nitrogen fertilization

  • Ghaley, B.B.
  • Hauggaard-Nielsen, Henrik
  • Jensen, Henning Høgh
  • Jensen, Erik Steen
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2005
Online Research Database In Technology
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<p>The effect of sole and intercropping of field pea (Pisum sativum L.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) on crop yield, fertilizer and soil nitrogen (N) use was tested on a sandy loam soil at three levels of urea fertilizer N (0, 4 and 8 g N m<sup>−2</sup>) applied at sowing. The <sup>15</sup>N enrichment and natural abundance techniques were used to determine N accumulation in the crops from the soil, fertilizer and symbiotic N<sub>2</sub> fixation. Intercrops of pea and wheat showed maximum productivity without the supply of N fertilizer. Intercropping increased total dry matter (DM) and N yield, grain DM and N yield, grain N concentration, the proportion of N derived from symbiotic N<sub>2</sub> fixation, and soil N accumulation. With increasing fertilizer N supply, intercropped and sole cropped wheat responded with increased yield, grain N yield and soil N accumulation, whereas the opposite was the case for pea. Fertilizer N enhanced the competitive ability of intercropped wheat recovering up to 90% of the total intercrop fertilizer N acquisition and decreased the proportion of pea in the intercrop, but without influencing the total intercrop grain yield. As a consequence, Land Equivalent Ratios calculated on basis of total DM production decreased from a maximum of 1.34 to as low as 0.85 with increased fertilizer N supply. The study suggests that pea–wheat intercropping is a cropping strategy that use N sources efficiently due to its spatial self-regulating dynamics where pea improve its interspecific competitive ability in areas with lower soil N levels, and vice versa for wheat, paving way for future option to reduce N inputs and negative environmental impacts of agricultural crop production.</p>


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