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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping provides a feasible way to improve yield and economic incomes in farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Sun B, Peng Y, Yang H, Li Z, Gao Y, Wang C, Yan Y, Liu Y - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization.When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes.These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.

ABSTRACT
Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization. In order to assess the performance of various intercropping modes of maize and alfalfa, a field experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with five treatments: maize monoculture in even rows, maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows, alfalfa monoculture, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows and maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in wide rows. Results demonstrate that maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows performed best for light transmission, grain yield and output value, compared to in even rows. When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes. These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Monthly precipitation (bar) and air temperature (curve) of the experimental site in 2011 and 2013.
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pone-0110556-g001: Monthly precipitation (bar) and air temperature (curve) of the experimental site in 2011 and 2013.

Mentions: The study was conducted between 2007 and 2013 at the Grassland Ecosystem Field Station of the Northeast Normal University at Songnen Grassland (123° 44′ E and 44° 40′ N, 137.8–144.8 masl), a typical FPA of NEC. This area is characterized by a semi-arid and temperate continental monsoon climate with a mean annual temperature of 4.6–6.4°C, an annual accumulated temperature (≥10°C) of 2546–3375°C, mean annual precipitation of 300–400 mm (86% of precipitation occurring from May to September) and mean annual evaporation of 1500–2000 mm. The frost-free period lasts approximately 140 days, from the end of April to early October. The two experimental years contrasted each other in terms of precipitation. In 2011, the annual total precipitation was 335 mm and mostly occurred in the growing season (308 mm), whereas the year 2013 was a year with a higher precipitation amount (376 mm from January to August), better seasonal distribution and pronounced peak in July. Air temperature in 2011 and 2013 showed a similar dynamic with the maximum and minimum air temperatures of 33°C and −32°C, respectively (Figure 1). The soil type at the site is light chernozem with deep soil layers. The plough layer consists of organic C (17.24±1.76 g kg−1), total N (0.98±0.15 g kg−1), rapidly available P (5.88±0.65 mg kg−1) and rapidly available K (140.70±11.75mg kg−1), with an initial soil pH of 7.46±0.04.


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping provides a feasible way to improve yield and economic incomes in farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Sun B, Peng Y, Yang H, Li Z, Gao Y, Wang C, Yan Y, Liu Y - PLoS ONE (2014)

Monthly precipitation (bar) and air temperature (curve) of the experimental site in 2011 and 2013.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4199727&req=5

pone-0110556-g001: Monthly precipitation (bar) and air temperature (curve) of the experimental site in 2011 and 2013.
Mentions: The study was conducted between 2007 and 2013 at the Grassland Ecosystem Field Station of the Northeast Normal University at Songnen Grassland (123° 44′ E and 44° 40′ N, 137.8–144.8 masl), a typical FPA of NEC. This area is characterized by a semi-arid and temperate continental monsoon climate with a mean annual temperature of 4.6–6.4°C, an annual accumulated temperature (≥10°C) of 2546–3375°C, mean annual precipitation of 300–400 mm (86% of precipitation occurring from May to September) and mean annual evaporation of 1500–2000 mm. The frost-free period lasts approximately 140 days, from the end of April to early October. The two experimental years contrasted each other in terms of precipitation. In 2011, the annual total precipitation was 335 mm and mostly occurred in the growing season (308 mm), whereas the year 2013 was a year with a higher precipitation amount (376 mm from January to August), better seasonal distribution and pronounced peak in July. Air temperature in 2011 and 2013 showed a similar dynamic with the maximum and minimum air temperatures of 33°C and −32°C, respectively (Figure 1). The soil type at the site is light chernozem with deep soil layers. The plough layer consists of organic C (17.24±1.76 g kg−1), total N (0.98±0.15 g kg−1), rapidly available P (5.88±0.65 mg kg−1) and rapidly available K (140.70±11.75mg kg−1), with an initial soil pH of 7.46±0.04.

Bottom Line: Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization.When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes.These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.

ABSTRACT
Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization. In order to assess the performance of various intercropping modes of maize and alfalfa, a field experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with five treatments: maize monoculture in even rows, maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows, alfalfa monoculture, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows and maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in wide rows. Results demonstrate that maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows performed best for light transmission, grain yield and output value, compared to in even rows. When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes. These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus