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Catch crop strategy and nitrate leaching following grazed grass-clover

Hansen, E.M.; Eriksen, J. and Vinther, F.P. (2007) Catch crop strategy and nitrate leaching following grazed grass-clover. Soil Use and Management, 23, pp. 348-358.

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Cultivation of grassland presents a high risk of nitrate leaching. This study aimed to determine if leaching could be reduced by growing spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) as a green crop for silage with undersown Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) compared with barley grown to maturity with or without an undersown conventional catch crop of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). All treatments received 0,60 or 120 kg of ammonium-N ha-1 in cattle slurry. In spring 2003, two grass-clover fields (3 and 5 years old, respectively, with different management histories) were ploughed. The effects of the treatments on yield and nitrate leaching were determined in the first year, while the residual effects of the treatments were determined in the second year in a crop of spring barley⁄perennial ryegrass. Nitrate leaching was estimated in selected treatments using soil water samples from ceramic cups. The experiment showed that compared with treatments without catch crop, green barley⁄Italian ryegrass reduced leaching by 163–320 kg Nha-1, corresponding to 95–99%, and the perennial ryegrass reduced leaching to between 34 and 86 kg Nha-1, corresponding to a reduction of 80 and 66%. Also, in the second growing season, leaching following catchcrops was reduced compared with the bare soil treatment. It was concluded that the green barley⁄Italian ryegrass offers advantages not only for the environment but also for farmers, for whom it provides a fodder high in roughage and avoids the difficulties with clover fatigue increasingly experienced by Danish farmers.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > I.16 (OKOVAND) Regional groundwater protection by optimised organic farming systems
Deposited By: Hansen, Grethe
ID Code:21149
Deposited On:10 Aug 2012 07:37
Last Modified:10 Aug 2012 07:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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