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Interspecific root interactions increase maize yields in intercropping with different companion crops

Schwerdtner, Ulrike and Spohn, Marie (2021). Interspecific root interactions increase maize yields in intercropping with different companion crops. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. 184 , 596-606
[Research article]

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Background Intercropping is assumed to increase food production while reducing fertilizer needs and environmental impacts of crop production. Aims We aimed to (1) investigate the effects of intercropping on yields and nutrient uptake of maize, and (2) determine the relative contributions of above- and belowground interspecific interactions (RCabove/below) to these effects. Methods We conducted a 2-year, small-scale field experiment with maize grown either in monocropping or intercropped with faba bean, soy, blue lupin, or white mustard as companion crop. We included a treatment in which interspecific root interactions were restricted due to barriers in the soil. Maize and companion crops were analyzed for yields, and maize additionally for nutrient uptake. Maize partial land equivalent ratios (pLER), partial nitrogen and phosphorus equivalent ratios (pNER, pPER), and RCabove/below were calculated. Results Intercropping resulted in a similar productivity of maize as in monocropping on an area basis. Maize pLER, pNER, and pPER were larger than 1.0 in several species combinations, indicating a positive effect of intercropping on maize yields and N and P uptake. Interspecific root interactions accounted for 62-85% of the maize yield increase in legume/maize intercropping, but for only 22% in mustard/maize intercropping. Conclusion Our results indicate that intercropping is beneficial for crop production since it increases maize yields and N and P uptake of maize plants, and it also provides yields of a companion crop. A substantial part of these positive effects can be attributed to interspecific root interactions.

Authors/Creators:Schwerdtner, Ulrike and Spohn, Marie
Title:Interspecific root interactions increase maize yields in intercropping with different companion crops
Series Name/Journal:Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
Year of publishing :2021
Page range:596-606
Number of Pages:11
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Keywords:mixed cropping, nitrogen uptake, phosphorus uptake, root partitioning, species interactions
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000697691400001
ID Code:26073
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:08 Nov 2021 10:25
Metadata Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 10:31

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