Nitrogen dynamics in grass-legume associations; how can fixed nitrogen use be optimised?
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The composition of grass-legume associations both modifies and is modified by the N cycle. The identity of the plants in the association has an effect on crop-level fixed-N inputs, N transfer while the association is in place, and the N remaining during the rest of the crop rotation cycle. The N used by the grass that is generated by the legume varies: it can reach 60% in white-clover-based associations, 50% in red-clover-based associations and 40% in lucerne-based associations. The percentage of legumes that optimises N transfer to grasses in grazed pastures (30%) is less than the percentage that maximises N fixation in hay meadows (70%). Making improvements to plants so that they can be used in associations, selecting certain plant varieties, and managing plant cover (e.g., via fertilisation, defoliation) are major tools that can be used to fine-tune the balance between the plants composing grass-legume associations. To some degree, these tools can also be used to influence relative ...contributions to the N balance of crop rotation systems.
Keywords:Alfalfa / carryover effect / C/N ratio / crop succession / environment / fertilisation / forage mixture / forage production / leaching / legume / nitrogen / plant association / red clover / symbiotic nitrogen fixa
Source:Fourrages, 2016, 226, 135-142
- Assoc Francaise Production Fourragere, Versailles Cedex
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