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Agronomic performance, nitrogen acquisition and water-use efficiency of the perennial grain crop Thinopyrum intermedium in a monoculture and intercropped with alfalfa in Scandinavia

Dimitrova Mårtensson, Linda-Maria and Barreiro, Ana and Li, Shoujiao and Jensen, Erik Steen (2022). Agronomic performance, nitrogen acquisition and water-use efficiency of the perennial grain crop Thinopyrum intermedium in a monoculture and intercropped with alfalfa in Scandinavia. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 42 :2 , 21
[Research article]

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Abstract

The perennial forage grass Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & Dewey, commonly known as intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) or by the commercial name Kernza (TM), is being developed as a perennial grain crop, i.e. being bred for its improved agronomic performance and food qualities. Intercropping legumes and grasses is a strategy for improving resource use and sustainability in cropping systems. Here, we show for the first time the agronomic performance of IWG as a perennial cereal grown as a monocrop and as an intercrop (alternate row, 0.5:0.5) with Medicago sativa L. (alfalfa/lucerne) in southern Sweden. The seeds of cycle 3 IWG were accessed from The Land Institute (TLI) of Salinas, Kansas, USA, and used to establish a local seed production plot (in 2014) for the establishment of the perennial systems (in 2016) utilised in this study. Both the monocrop and intercrop were sown with 25 cm row spacing with alternate rows of IWG and alfalfa in the intercrop (i.e. replacement design) with unknown sowing density. Intercropping provided sustained IWG grain production under the dry conditions of 2018, but also in the following year. This was evidently associated with a higher nitrogen accumulation in intercropped practice. Thus, intercropping seems to have stabilised the IWG grain production in the dry conditions of 2018, when the grain production in the intercrop was similar to that of the monocrop in the same year. This result was further supported by the lower discrimination against C-13 (as an indicator of water use efficiency) in the intercrop components compared to the sole crop in 2018. The lower discrimination indicates high water use efficiency in the intercropped IWG in comparison to the IWG in monoculture, and we conclude that intercropping perennial cereal grain crops with legumes provides better growing conditions in terms of nitrogen acquisition, and water status, to cope with more extreme drought spells expected from climate change.

Authors/Creators:Dimitrova Mårtensson, Linda-Maria and Barreiro, Ana and Li, Shoujiao and Jensen, Erik Steen
Title:Agronomic performance, nitrogen acquisition and water-use efficiency of the perennial grain crop Thinopyrum intermedium in a monoculture and intercropped with alfalfa in Scandinavia
Series Name/Journal:Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:42
Number:2
Article number:21
Number of Pages:10
Publisher:SPRINGER FRANCE
ISSN:1774-0746
Language:English
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 > Agricultural Science
Keywords:Intermediate wheatgrass, Grain yield, Straw yield, Drought, N content, N-2 fixation, Lucerne
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116459
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116459
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1007/s13593-022-00752-0
Web of Science (WoS)000767205100001
ID Code:27434
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:25 Mar 2022 10:25
Metadata Last Modified:25 Mar 2022 10:31

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