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Effects of catch crop type and root depth on nitrogen leaching and yield of spring barley

Sapkota, Tek Bahadur; Askegaard, Margrethe; Lægdsmand, Mette and Olesen, Jørgen Eivind (2011) Effects of catch crop type and root depth on nitrogen leaching and yield of spring barley. Field Crops Research, 125, pp. 129-138.

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Summary

Catch crop root growth and nitrogen (N) uptake from both shallower and deeper soil layers is important for N management in arable farming system particularly in climates where excess winter precipitation induces N leaching. We simulated the root growth and biomass yield of three common catch crops [chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), fodder radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and perennial
ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)] and their effect on soil mineral N in different soil layers by using the FASSET model. The simulated results of catch crops root growth and mineral N in the soil profile were validated against two years (i.e. 2006 and 2007) of observations taken in Foulum and Flakkebjerg, Denmark. Fodder radish had the deepest root system and depleted N from deeper soil layers than
chicory and ryegrass. The effect of these three catch crops on N leaching and grain yield of spring barley was simulated for 30 years using the FASSET model. The simulations showed that the system with ryegrass catch crop
had a smaller amount of N leaching from 1 m depth than the system with other catch crops and without catch crops. However, estimated total N leached from 2 m soil depth was the smallest in the system with fodder radish followed by the system with chicory, indicating that these catch crops are capable for taking soil N also from below 1 m depth. On average, the system with fodder radish was estimated to decrease N leaching from 2 m depth by 79% compared with the system without catch crops, resulting in an average spring barley grain yield increase of 2%. Chicory and ryegrass
correspondingly contributed to reducing N leaching from 2 m soil depths by 71 and 67%, but with the cost of decreasing spring barley yield by 3 and 5%, respectively, when compared with the system without catch crop. Termination of catch crop use slightly increased the spring barley yield, but also increased N leaching by about 17%. Inclusion of catch crop in the system increased the total N and C content in the soil in all cases but the increase was largest with ryegrass.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:root depth, grain yield, N leaching, simulation, chicory, fodder radish, ryegrass
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > CROPSYS - The effect of cropping systems on production and the environment
Deposited By: Olesen, Senior scientist Jørgen E.
ID Code:18766
Deposited On:06 May 2011 10:04
Last Modified:29 May 2013 09:24
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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