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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 21 No. 6, p. 977-980
    Received: Jan 12, 1981

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Corn Yields as Related to Legumes and Inorganic Nitrogen1

  1. A. A. Fleming,
  2. J. E. Giddens and
  3. E. R. Beaty2



High corn (Zea mays L.) yields require heavy N applications. Sources of inorganic N fertilizer have become less dependable and prices more expensive. A 3-year study was initiated to evaluate the use of winter legumes and inorganic N as sources of N for corn production under modern culture. The experiment included three whole-plot clover treatments (arrowleaf, Trifolium vesiculosum Savi; crimson, Trifolium incarnatum L; and fallow) and five inorganic split-plot treatments ranging from 0 to 180 kg/ha N.

Significant whole-plot × split-plot interactions occurred in 1975 for both grain yield and dry stover. Corn following clover produced 318% more grain than corn following fallow in 1975. When no N was applied, corn yield on fallow averaged 25 q/ha and increased 272% and 364% when grown following arrowleaf and crimson, respectively. The 180 kg/ha N did not increase corn yields significantly when compared with 90 kg/ha N with or without clover. Differences in stover yields between the 90 and 180 kg/ha N were not significant in any of the whole-plot treatments in any year.

Crimson clover produced in a 2-year average about 1600 kg/ha more dry-weight forage than arrowleaf. Total forage N at time of turning averaged 163 and 131 kg/ha, respectively, for crimson and arrowleaf. Differences in forage yield and in N content of the clovers were attributed to differences in maturity at time of turning.

Growing a winter legume to replace all or part of the N may become a viable alternative in double-cropping systems for corn production and conserving soll in the southern U.S. and in developing countries.

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