Soil mineral nitrogen availability predicted by herbage yield and disease resistance in red clover (Trifolium pratense) cropping

McKenna, P, Cannon, N and Conway, J (2018) Soil mineral nitrogen availability predicted by herbage yield and disease resistance in red clover (Trifolium pratense) cropping. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 112 (3). pp. 303-315. ISSN 1573-0867

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Nitrogen (N) is the most limiting nutrient in crop production. Legumes such as red clover can provide N through biofixation, but securing nitrogen in soil for subsequent crop production must also be considered. Variety selection and management in red clover cropping can influence soil mineral nitrogen (SMN) availability. A field trial to investigate this was conducted with six varieties, under one and two cut management, over 2 years. Dry matter (DM) and N yield, Sclerotinia resistance and SMN availability were assessed. Low DM and N yields (1.6–2.4 t DM ha−1 and 54–83 kg N ha−1) in the first year of cultivation allowed ~ 40 kg N ha−1 to become available, but high DM and N yields (10.2–14.6 t DM ha−1 and 405–544 kg N ha−1) allowed ~ 20 kg N ha−1 to become available. Wetter weather in 2015 caused significantly more SMN losses than 2016 (20 kg N ha−1 in 2015 and 5 kg N ha−1 in 2016). The varieties Amos, Maro and Milvus lost significantly more SMN in the winter period, which may have been caused by more severe infection of Sclerotinia (these varieties were 50–80% more severely infected other varieties). Varietal effect was non-significant for winter losses in 2016, where no significant varietal differences in Sclerotinia infection were observed. 1 cut made ~ 41 kg N ha−1 available in the growing season of 2015, whilst 2 cut made significantly less (37 kg N ha−1). Cutting was non-significant in 2016 but 1 cut was less susceptible to losses in the winter period. Cutting in 2015 did not significantly affect herbage DM and N yields in the first or second cut of 2016.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Red clover Forage legume Soil fertility Nitrogen fixation Soil mineral nitrogen
Divisions: Agriculture, Food and Environment
Depositing User: Marieke Guy
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2019 12:42
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2020 16:04

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