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Vegetative Composition, Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Root Colonization, and Biological Nitrogen Fixation Distinguish Organic and Conventional Perennial Forage Systems

Schneider, Kim; Lynch, Derek; Bünemann, Else K. and Voroney, R. Paul (2017) Vegetative Composition, Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Root Colonization, and Biological Nitrogen Fixation Distinguish Organic and Conventional Perennial Forage Systems. Agronomy Journal, 109 (4), pp. 1697-1706.

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Document available online at: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2134/agronj2016.12.0700


Summary

Low concentrations of Olsen soil test phosphorus (STP) on organic dairy farms in Canada have been reported, however, the resulting impact on crop productivity is unclear. Th is study evaluated mixed forage (alfalfa [Medicago sativa L.]/ timothy [Phleum pratense L.]) productivity, nutrient uptake, and related soil biological and biochemical properties on organic and conventional dairy farms in Ontario, Canada. Despite a lower STP concentration, mean organic forage yield (8.0 Mg DM ha–1) did not signifi cantly diff er from conventional (9.5 Mg DM ha–1). Th e proportion of N derived from biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) in alfalfa did not diff er by management system, however the total forage BNF-N was greater in the organic fields due to a twofold increase in legume proportions. Alfalfa tissue P concentrations, above the suggested critical value of 2.0 g kg–1 in all systems, were positively correlated with STP (r = 0.82, P = < 0.0001) and significantly greater in conventional (3.3 g kg–1) than organic (2.4 g kg–1). Mean arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) root colonization of alfalfa was greater in organic systems (37 vs. 23%) and was negatively correlated with STP (P = 0.0006). Management systems did not diff er in soil alkaline and acid phosphatase activity, or phytase-labile P. It was concluded that legume-based forages can produce acceptable yields at low STP concentrations (<10 mg kg–1) and supports the importance of legumes, legume BNF, and biological processes linked to soil P cycling in aintaining productivity in organic dairy farming systems.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:cropping system, alfalfa, mycorrhiza, soil test phosphorus, feed crops
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
mycorrhizae
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_5023
English
biological nitrogen fixation
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_27742
English
feed crops
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_2829
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Pasture and forage crops
Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil > Nutrient management
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil > Soil quality
DOI:10.2134/agronj2016.12.0700
Deposited By: Bünemann, Else
ID Code:42475
Deposited On:30 Sep 2021 13:20
Last Modified:30 Sep 2021 13:20
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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