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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Biomass Production and Nitrogen Uptake in Corn-Ryegrass Systems


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 89 No. 5, p. 749-756
    Received: Oct 16, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): dsmith@agradm.lan.mcgill.ca
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  1. X. M. Zhou,
  2. C. A. Madramootoo,
  3. A. F. MacKenzie and
  4. D. L. Smith 
  1. D ep. of Plant Science
    D ep. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Macdonald Campus, McGill Univ., 21,111 Lakeshore Rd., Ste Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada H9X 3V9
    D ep. of Natural Resource Sciences



Cropping systems, plant growth stages, and applied N fertilizer rates all directly affect N uptake. A 2-yr study was conducted to evaluate the effects of cropping system [monocrop corn (Zea mays L.) and corn intercropped with annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.)] on dry matter (DM) production and distribution and on uptake and allocation in the plants during the development of corn. Each of these corn systems was produced on a fine sandy loam (Typic Humaquept), using an application of 270 kg N ha−1 in each spring. Zero N (control) and conventional N rate (180 kg N ha−1) treatments were included for monocropped corn with conventional drainage. Plantissues of all treatments were sampled at six-leaf, tasseling, and mid-grain filling stages, and after physiological maturity. In both years, DM production and N uptake of intercropped corn were lower than, or not different from, the monocropped corn (depending on growth stage). The total N uptake and DM production of the intercropping system (corn + ryegrass + weeds) were greater than those of the monocrop system. Application of 270 kg N ha−1 resulted in 20% less N recovery than 180 kg N ha−1 with monocropped corn production using free drainage. Both the corn-ryegrass intercropping system and applied N rates altered the allocation of DM and N among different paris of the corn plants. The ryegrass and weeds were not able to take up enough of the extra N after the high N rate was applied for two consecutive years. The effect of precipitation on annual ryegrass growth was an important factor in N uptake by the intercropping system.

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