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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Yield stability and weed dry matter in response to field-scale soil variability in pea-oat intercropping

Munz, Sebastian; Zachmann, Julian; Chongtham, Iman Raj; Dhamala, Nawa Raj; Hartung, Jens; Jensen, Erik Steen; Carlsson, Georg

Abstract

Background and aims Intercropping of grain legumes and cereals in European agriculture can provide benefits, such as an increase in yields, yield stability and weed suppression. Interactions between crops in intercropping may depend on spatial heterogeneity in soil conditions, which are present on farmers' fields. Understanding the effect of within-field variation in soil conditions on interspecific interactions might increase the benefits of intercropping by within-field adjustment of the agronomic management.Methods Crop performance and weed dry matter were assessed together with several soil properties in grids within three large field experiments at two sites (Germany and Sweden) and during two years. Each experiment was comprised of several strips sown either with the two sole crops oat (Avena sativa L.) and field pea (Pisum sativum L.) or an oat-pea intercrop.Results The response of crop performance to within-field variability in soil conditions was mostly species-specific. Yield stability of intercropping was consistently higher compared with pea, but not compared to oat. The highest land equivalent ratio was found for an additive intercropping design under a higher water availability. In this experiment, yield stability of both intercropped pea and oat were lower, which might be expected as a result of within-field variation in interspecific interactions. Intercropping reduced weed dry matter compared to pea, for which one experiment indicated an increase in weed dry matter with nutrient availability.Conclusion The experimental design and the developed statistical analysis can contribute to further research about spatial variations in interspecific interactions in intercropping, which will improve the understanding of plant-plant and plant-soil interactions.

Keywords

Mixed cropping; Land equivalent ratio; Precision farming; Coefficient of variation; Legumes; Cereals

Published in

Plant and Soil
2023,
Publisher: SPRINGER