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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

Leaf area index comparisons of maize at the harvest stage under monoculture and intercropping.Significant differences between different cropping patterns are indicated by lower case letters (P <0.05). The other symbols are the same as for Figure 2.
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pone-0110556-g004: Leaf area index comparisons of maize at the harvest stage under monoculture and intercropping.Significant differences between different cropping patterns are indicated by lower case letters (P <0.05). The other symbols are the same as for Figure 2.

Mentions: There was no significant difference in maize LAI between MME and MMW (Figure 4). Compared to MMW, the LAI of intercropped maize (IMA1 and IMA2) was significantly reduced (P <0.0001), and no significant difference was observed between the two intercropping patterns (Table 1; Figure 4). Regarding alfalfa LAI, the values of IMA1 and IMA2 were significantly higher than that of MA (P = 0.009), but with no significant difference between IMA1 and IMA2 (Table 1; Figure 5A). Meanwhile, alfalfa LAI was significantly affected by its flowering stage (F = 32.648, P <0.0001), LAI in the first flowering stage was significantly higher than that in the second and third flowering stages (P <0.0001) (Figure 5B).


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)

Leaf area index comparisons of maize at the harvest stage under monoculture and intercropping.Significant differences between different cropping patterns are indicated by lower case letters (P <0.05). The other symbols are the same as for Figure 2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110556-g004: Leaf area index comparisons of maize at the harvest stage under monoculture and intercropping.Significant differences between different cropping patterns are indicated by lower case letters (P <0.05). The other symbols are the same as for Figure 2.
Mentions: There was no significant difference in maize LAI between MME and MMW (Figure 4). Compared to MMW, the LAI of intercropped maize (IMA1 and IMA2) was significantly reduced (P <0.0001), and no significant difference was observed between the two intercropping patterns (Table 1; Figure 4). Regarding alfalfa LAI, the values of IMA1 and IMA2 were significantly higher than that of MA (P = 0.009), but with no significant difference between IMA1 and IMA2 (Table 1; Figure 5A). Meanwhile, alfalfa LAI was significantly affected by its flowering stage (F = 32.648, P <0.0001), LAI in the first flowering stage was significantly higher than that in the second and third flowering stages (P <0.0001) (Figure 5B).

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