Improved soil quality and barley yields with fababeans, manure, forages and crop rotation on a Gray Luvisol

Wani, S P and McGill, W B and Haugen-Kozyra, K L and Robertson, J A and Thurston, J J (1994) Improved soil quality and barley yields with fababeans, manure, forages and crop rotation on a Gray Luvisol. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 74 (1). pp. 75-84. ISSN 0008-4271

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There exists a need (i) to test, whether equal or better cereal yields could be obtained using cropping systems which rely on renewable resources rather than on fertilizer nitrogen; and (ii) to discover the condition of the soil resource under these systems.The long-term cropping systems on a Gray Luvisol at Breton were studied. They included: (i) an agro-ecological 8-yr rotation (AER), established in 1981, which involved addition of both fababean green manure and manure from livestock fed with forages and fababeans grown in the rotation: (ii) a continuous grain (barley) system (CG), with fertilizer N at 90 kg ha−1 y−1, established in 1981; (iii) a classical Breton 5-yr rotation (CBR) involving forages and cereals, with no return of crop residues or manure, established in 1930. Mean barley yields were 16–19% higher in the AER (P ≤ 0.05) than in the CG system, and yield on either was about double that of the CBR. Within 9 yr, there was evidence of increased total C, N, and P; available N, P and K, CEC; microbial biomass, microbial respiration; and counts of bacteria, fungi, and mycorrhizae in the AER compared with the CG system.We conclude that biological fixation of N by legumes can be used as the sole source of N for barley production on Luvisolic soils of low fertility such as the Breton loam, without sacrificing yield or soil quality. Barley yields in the AER (38% of the rotation time) exceeded those of barley grown under continuous cereal cropping. The soil resource was maintained or improved during a 10-yr period under AER compared to the CG or CBR systems. Further research is needed to discover the mechanisms involved in regulating biological activity and availability of plant nutrients other than N in the AER system. Key words: Barley, Breton loam, cropping systems, Gray Luvisol, soil quality, fababeans

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Depositing User: Mr Charan Sai Ch
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2011 09:15
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2011 09:15
Official URL:
Funders: Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, Engineering Research Council of Canada
Acknowledgement: The Farming For the Future Program of the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada provided financial support. We thank J. Konwicki, C. Nguyen, and J. Brown for technical assistance and S. Nakashima for word processing assistance
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