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Diverse fertility building leys in arable rotations

{Tool} Diverse fertility building leys in arable rotations. Creator(s): Bliss, Katie and Measures, Mark. Issuing Organisation(s): Organic Reserach Centre (ORC), Elm Farm. OK-Net Arable Practice abstract, no. 013. (2017)

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Online at: http://orgprints.org/31040

Summary

The results of a three year study in the UK suggest that there are several advantages to more complex mixtures;
• Greater resilience to variable conditions
• Combine early and late weed suppression • Slower decomposition on incorporation
• Extends forage availability for key insect pollinators
• Generally achieve higher forage yields
• Potential for higher subsequent crop yields.
Practical recommendation
• There are a number of plant characteristics that have an impact on nitrogen release and mobilisation, namely C:N ratio, lignin and polyphenol content which result in slower N release and lower N losses or better N utilisation.
• Including grass species in the mix takes up the N fixed by the legumes and reduces the free N in the soil; the rhizobia bacteria respond to the low soil N, resulting in higher N fixation and greater biomass. Moreover the higher C:N ratio prolongs the release of N to subsequent crops. The balance of grass and legumes is important.
• The annual N accumulation of ley mixtures decreases after two years, although there may be other advantages from longer leys such as weed control.
• In terms of forage yield including a 3rd or 4th legume is generally advantageous.
• The best multifunctional mixtures contain one or more species of Black Medic, Lucerne and Red Clover, plus other legumes according to the circumstances.


EPrint Type:Practice tool
What problem does the tool address?:Leguminous leys are a cornerstone of organic arable systems. However, they do not always deliver reliably, and there is a need to improve their fertility-building capability and resilience. A typical ley of one or two legume and grass species can be vulnerable to failure under unfavourable conditions. Good establishment, weed suppression and controlling the quantity and timing of N release can be especially challenging.
What solution does the tool offer?:Different legume species have different growth characteristics and nutrient use profiles. Growing a complex mixture of species can maximise the exploitation of nutrients, aid weed suppression, attract a more diverse range of pollinators and enhance the stability and resilience of the stand. On-farm and field trials (including trials as part of the three year LegLINK project) have evaluated the role of functionally diverse species-rich leys in arable rotations in the UK.
Country:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type of Practice Tool:Practice abstracts
Theme:Soil quality and fertility, Nutrient management, Pest and disease control, Weed management
Keywords:arable farming, crop rotation, crop species, legumes, nitrogen, nutrient management, pest control, weed management
Keywords:arable farming, crop rotation, crop species, legumes, nitrogen, nutrient management, pest control, weed management
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
Englisharable farminghttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_36528
Englishcrop rotationhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_6662
Englishcropshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_1972
Englishlegumeshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_4255
Englishnitrogenhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_5192
Englishnutrient managementhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_330697
Englishpest controlhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_5726
Englishweed controlhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_8345
Englishdisease controlhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_2327
Englishsoil fertilityhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_7170
Englishsoil propertieshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_330883
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Pasture and forage crops
Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Soil
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Crop husbandry > Weed management
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: European Union > OK-Net Arable
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Related Links:http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/search-for-ok-tools?v=31040
Project ID:oknet
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:31040
Deposited On:18 Jan 2017 14:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2018 09:10
Document Language:English
Status:Published

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