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Hard Red Spring Wheat Response Following the Intercropping of Legumes into Sunflower


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 3, p. 731-736
    Received: May 27, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): kandel001@tc.umn.edu
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  1. H.J. Kandel *,
  2. B.L. Johnson and
  3. A.A. Schneiter
  1. Dep. of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND 58105 USA


Intercropping legumes in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) may increase soil cover, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil C and N. Subsequent effects of this practice on hard red spring wheat (HRSW) [Triticum aestivum (L.) Emend. Thell.] yield and protein content were unknown. Our objective was to quantify effects of intercropping various legumes into sunflower on spring soil nitrate-nitrogen (NO 3–N) and grain yield and protein content of a subsequent HRSW crop. Field experiments were conducted near Carrington and Prosper, ND, from 1993 through 1995. Wheat was planted into non-legume plots and those previously intercropped with hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), yellow-flowered sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis Lam.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), snail medic [Medicago scutellata (L.) Mill.], or black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.). Soil NO 3–N (0–30 cm) in plots previously intercropped with hairy vetch (41 kg ha−1) was greater than control plots (26 kg ha−1). Yield of HRSW was reduced at both Carrington and Prosper in 1993 when grown after a sweetclover intercrop. Yield of HRSW was reduced at Carrington in 1993 when grown after an alfalfa intercrop. Wheat grown after sweetclover intercropped in sunflower had higher protein content (142.0 g kg−1) than HRSW grown after sunflower (140.6 g kg−1) alone. Overall, intercropping hairy vetch at the V4 sunflower growth stage appears superior because it did not reduce sunflower yield, provided soil cover adding between 540 and 2400 kg ha−1 above ground dry matter to the system, and increased NO 3–N levels at the beginning of the HRSW season in two environments.

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