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University of Manitoba (1999)

Rotation benefits of alfalfa in a cropping system

Forster, David A..

Titre : Rotation benefits of alfalfa in a cropping system

Auteur : Forster, David A

Université de soutenance : University of Manitoba Canada

Degree : Master of Science 1999

Including alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in cropping systems produce niaogen and non- nitrogen benefits which Sect subsequent cereal yield, grain protein concentration and grain nhogen uptake and is known to hmprove the soil surface hydrology and increase root activïty and soa water extraction by subsequent crops. The objective of this study was to determine the rotation benefit of alfatfa to subsequent wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crops. The effect of including one to six year alfalfa stand lengths in rotation was measured using subsequent wheat yield, grain protein concentration, grain nitrogen uptake as well as rooting depth and soil water emaction by wheat at the Winnipeg Crop Rotation fiom 1990 to 1997. Short term aKalfa stands of three to four years had similar rotation benefits (bo th N and non-N) as longer alfalfa stand lengths. In the f%st wheat crop after alfalfa, wheat yield and grain N uptake benefits korn alf’a were attribut& predominantly to N benefits. For the wheat crops two or more years after alfalfa, yield and grain N uptake benefits from alfalfa were atmbuted rnainly to non4 benefits. Increased wheat grain protein concentration (GPC) due to alfalfa was detected in fertilized rotations up to the fifth wheat crop after alfalfa. Economic benefits f ?om aLfalfa were attributed to higher yields in unfertilized rotations and higher GPC in N fertilized rotations. Malfa used more water than annual crop plants and had a signincant effect on the soi1 surface hydrology. Alfalfa caused deeper rooting depths by subsequent cered crops for the fist two wheat crops in both femüzed and unfertilized rotations and also increased subsequent soil water extraction by wheat plants up to four years &er alfilfa temination. Including alfalfa in rotation increased water use efficiency (WUE) of wheat yield (p hysiological efficient y) in unfertilized rotations while increased water recovery enicienc y contributed to higher grain yield in fertilized crop rotations. Results £kom this study indicate that short term alfalfa stands of two to four years are feasible to increase subsequent cereal yield, grain protein concentration, rooting depth and soi1 water extraction in the sub-humid regions of Manitoba


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