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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Temporal and Spatial Positioning of Service Crops in Cereals Affects Yield and Weed Control

Lagerquist, Elsa; Menegat, Alexander; Dahlin, Anna Sigrun; Parsons, David; Watson, Christine; Stahl, Per; Gunnarsson, Anita; Bergkvist, Goran

Abstract

Leguminous service crops (SCs) can provide multiple services to cropping systems, reducing the reliance on external resources if sufficient biomass is produced. However, rapid light and temperature reductions limit post-harvest cultivation of SCs in Northern Europe. A novel practice of intercropping SCs in two consecutive crops (spring-winter cereal) to extend the period of SCs growth, and hence improve yield and reduce weeds, was tested. Three spatial and temporal arrangements of SCs and cash crops were investigated, as well as three SC mixtures, characterized by their longevity and frost sensitivity. Compared to no SC, the best performing mixture, frost-tolerant annuals, increased grain and N yield of winter wheat by 10% and 19%, respectively, and reduced weed biomass by 15% and 26% in oats and winter wheat, respectively. These effects were attributed to high biomass production and winter survival. However, this SC reduced oat yields by 15% compared to no SC. Furthermore, SC growth and service provision varied largely between experiments, driven by the weather conditions. Extending the SC's growth period by intercropping in two consecutive cereal crops has potential, but locally adapted species choices and establishment strategies are needed to ensure SC vitality until termination.

Keywords

cropping systems; innovation; relay intercropping; legume service crops; yield; nitrogen dynamics; weeds

Published in

Agriculture
2022, volume: 12, number: 9, article number: 1398
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
Ståhl, Per
The Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies
Gunnarsson, Anita
The Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091398

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/119189