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Root Growth and Nitrogen Utilization of a Leek Crop and an Undersown Catch Crop

Nielsen, Dr. Kai Lønne and Thorup-Kristensen, Dr. Kristian (2001) Root Growth and Nitrogen Utilization of a Leek Crop and an Undersown Catch Crop. In: Horst, Dr. W.J. (Ed.) Plant Nutrition - Food security and sustainability of agro-ecosystems through basic and applied research, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 1010-1011.

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After its late harvest a leek (Allium porrum) crop will normally leave large quantities of nitrogen (N) in the soil which may be subject to leaching. A possible method to reduce N leaching losses is to establish a catch crop before the harvest of the leek crop. It was the aim of this study to investigate the effects of incorporating a catch crop in a leek crop with minimal competition and to monitor how root growth affected N availability across soil depths at different distances between catch and leek crop rows. To reduce competition between both crops leek was planted at 0.5 and 0.75 m row distances and chicory (Cichorium intybus) as a catch crop at an interrow spacing of 0.75 m. Minirhizotron glass tubes were inserted in the middle of the interrow spaces (with or without catch crop established in mid July) and in the leek row. Leek roots grew to a depth of about 0.4 m by mid October with a high root density directly below the leek row but did not extend growth to the centre of the 0.75 m interrow. At the same time the catch crop had extended its roots to a depth of at least 1.25 m and was exploring the full width of the 0.75 m interrow with some roots even below the leek rows. The results show that it is possible to establish a catch crop in leek thereby depleting soil N and reduce the risk of N leaching without jeopardising crop yield.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:leek, chicory, intercropping, catch crop, root growth, nitrogen
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Crop husbandry > Production systems
Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > II.2 Vegetables
Deposited By: Thorup-Kristensen, Professor Kristian
ID Code:1608
Deposited On:08 Oct 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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