Cereal/legume rotation effects on cereal growth in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa: soil mineral nitrogen, mycorrhizae and nematodes

Bagayoko, M and Buerkert, A and Lung, G and Bationo, A and Romheld, V (2000) Cereal/legume rotation effects on cereal growth in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa: soil mineral nitrogen, mycorrhizae and nematodes. Plant and Soil, 218 (1-2). pp. 103-116. ISSN 1573-5036

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Yield increases of cereals following legumes in rotation have been previously reported for West Africa, but little progress has been made to explain the mechanisms involved. At four sites in Niger and Burkina Faso, field trials with pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) and groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were conducted from 1996 to 1998 to investigate the role of soil mineral nitrogen (Nmin), native arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) and nematodes in cereal/legume rotations. Grain and total dry matter yields of cereals at harvest were increased by legume/cereal rotations at all sites. Soil Nmin levels in the topsoil were consistently higher in cereal plots previously sown with legumes (rotation cereals) compared with plots under continuous cereal cultivation. However, these rotation effects on Nmin were much larger with groundnut than with cowpea. Roots of rotation cereals also had higher early AM infection rates compared to continuous cereals. The dominant plant-parasitic nematodes found in all experiment fields were Helicotylenchus sp., Rotylenchus sp. and Pratylenchus sp. In sorghum/groundnut cropping systems, nematode densities were consistently lower in rotation sorghum compared to continuous sorghum. Continuous groundnut had the lowest nematode densities indicating that groundnut was a poor host for the three nematode groups. In millet/cowpea cropping systems with inherently high nematode densities, crop rotations barely affected nematode densities indicating that both crops were good hosts. These results suggest that on the nutrient poor Sudano-Sahelian soils of our study, total dry matter increases of rotation cereals compared with continuous cereals can be explained by higher Nmin and AM infection levels early in the season. The site-specific magnitude of these effects may be related to the efficiency of the legume species to suppress nematode populations and increase plant available N through N2-fixation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cowpea, cropping systems, groundnut, pearl millet, sorghum
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 05:24
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2013 11:50
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/1919
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1014957605852
Funders: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit
Acknowledgement: The authors are grateful to E George for his constructive comments, to A Moussa,MBachir, A Thiombiano and I Oumarou for their technical help at sampling and sample analysis, to H Traoré (INERA, Burkina Faso) and ICRISAT Sahelian Centre for logistical support and to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) for funding.
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