IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jagris/v2y2012i1p12-24d15765.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Effects of Shade on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Acquisition in Cereal-Legume Intercropping Systems

Author

Listed:
  • Meighen Whitehead

    () (Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada)

  • Marney E. Isaac

    () (Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada)

Abstract

With increasing economic and environmental costs associated with fertilizer use, the need for low-input agroecological systems is on the rise. It is well documented that intercropping legumes can increase the supply of nutrients, through N 2 -fixation and P mobilization. Concurrently, the integration of trees in the agricultural landscape shows increasing evidence of nutrient inputs through efficient biogeochemical cycles. However, little is known about the effects shade has on legume-crop performance. This research aims to determine whether intercropping of the legumes soybean ( Glycine max L . Merr. ) and alfalfa ( Medicago sativa ) with wheat ( Triticum turgidum durum ) is beneficial for performance, particularly under shady conditions associated with tree-based intercropping. Test species were cultivated in hydroponics with a broad nutrient solution and steady state addition of N for 3 weeks. Individual plants were transferred to rhizoboxes with a 2 mm zone of soil for 16 days under (i) full sun or (ii) shade to mimic light levels at the tree-crop interface. Under monocropping, shading was found to significantly decrease wheat biomass. Intercropping wheat with alfalfa under full sun had no negative effect on growth but did increase wheat P uptake as compared to monocropped wheat. In contrast, intercropping wheat with soybean under full sun decreased wheat biomass, suggesting competition. However, under shade, this competitive effect was mitigated, as wheat exhibited similar biomass and higher N and P shoot concentration when associated with soybean as compared to monocropped wheat under lower light levels. This effect may be attributed to reduced biomass of soybean combined with higher soybean N 2 -fixation under shade. Legume-based intercrops may increase nutrient supply and growth but these beneficial effects will be dependent on matching species selection to light levels under tree-based intercropping.

Suggested Citation

  • Meighen Whitehead & Marney E. Isaac, 2012. "Effects of Shade on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Acquisition in Cereal-Legume Intercropping Systems," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-13, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:2:y:2012:i:1:p:12-24:d:15765
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/2/1/12/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/2/1/12/
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intercropping; 15 N natural abundance; N 2 -fixation; Ontario; rhizobox; shade effects;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:2:y:2012:i:1:p:12-24:d:15765. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: http://www.mdpi.com/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.