Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 9, Issue 3&4,2011
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Effect of maize-legume intercropping on soil nitrate and ammonium accumulation


Jian-xiong Huang 1, Peng Sui 1, Sheng-wei Nie 1, 2, Bing-bing Wang 1, Zi-jin Nie 1, Wang-sheng Gao 1, Yuan-quan Chen 1*

Recieved Date: 2011-06-26, Accepted Date: 2011-10-03


Over use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer can lead to environmental problems. In China, maize is one of the dominant crops and consumes a great deal of N fertilizer. A considerable proportion of farmers applied superfluous nitrogen fertilizer on maize production, which certainly causes N loss as nitrate leaching. How to reduce nitrate leaching in-situ is a research hotspot on crop production recently. To observe the effect of nitrate leaching under intercropping systems, an experiment was carried out in field with four treatments which were maize monoculture, maize intercropped with red clover, maize intercropped with sweet clover and maize intercropped with pea. Results showed that the maize intercropped with red clover did not significantly influence soil nitrate content, but implementation of intercropping sweet clover and pea in maize field reduced nitrate accumulation in 0-200 cm soil layer by 25.7% and 34.4%, respectively, because these two intercropping treatments significantly reduced soil nitrate content at 120- 200 cm soil depth. However, intercropping had little effect on ammonium accumulation. On the other hand, the grain yield of maize was not significantly influenced by intercropping with legume. The results implied that maize intercropped with legume benefited the environment without visible loss of yield in this case.


Maize, legume, intercropping, soil nitrate, soil ammonium

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2011
Volume: 9
Issue: 3&4
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 416-419

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