Enhancing yield benefits from intercropping of pulse and oilseed crops
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
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Intercropping of pulse and oilseed crops has the potential to increase N efficiency and overall crop productivity, but requires knowledge of the factors controlling benefits. We conducted field experiments with pea and lentil intercropped with canola or mustard at two locations in 2018 and 2019 to determine the impact of oilseed plant density and N fertilization (15N-enriched) on N competition and yield. In 2018, monocropped canola took up twice as much fertilizer 15N as monocropped pulse crops under drought conditions, but similar quantities under average precipitation. In contrast, intercropped canola took up 7- to 11-fold more 15N than lentil and 3- to 5-fold more 15N than pea, with little difference due to timing of 15N application. Intercropped pulse crops obtained a higher proportion of N from biological N2 fixation but fixed less N2 per hectare due to lower N yield. Intercropping gains in overall cro p productivity relative to standard practice (N-fertilized oilseed, non-N-fertilized pulse crops) ranged from -7 to +15% for lentil-canola and +5 to +21% for pea-canola, with greatest benefit at the moderate seeding rate of canola. Intercropping gains increased by an additional 16% when compared to monocrops receiving the same rate of N fertilizer: up to 49% for pea-canola and 33% for lentil-canola.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
pulse and oilseed intercropping
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