Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2012, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (1): 73-79.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2012.01.011

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Impact of Cutting a Clover Crop on the Nitrogen Supplied to Winter Wheat in an Intercropping System

SUN Zhenzhong1,2, OUYANG Zhu1, LI Fadong1, WU Lanfang1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-02-17 Revised:2012-02-25 Online:2012-03-30 Published:2012-03-30
  • Supported by:

    China and CAS Knowledge Innovation Project of KSCX1-YW-09-06, China and CAS Main Direction Program of Knowledge Innovation of KSCX2-EW-B-1 and CAS 100 Talents Project.

Abstract: The major function of clover in a winter wheat–white clover intercropping system is to supply nitrogen (N) for the wheat. A field experiment was conducted at Yucheng Comprehensive Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to evaluate the effect of cutting white clover on N fixation and the transfer of fixed N to the associated winter wheat. A method of 15N natural abundance was used to determine the nitrogen dynamics in the intercropping system. The results showed that the amount of N transferred from the clover to the wheat, throughout the growing season, varied between 34.4 and 57.5 kg ha-1. Compared to leaving the clover standing, cutting the clover increased the amount of N that accumulated in the soil and also resulted in reduced N concentrations in the leaves and stems of the wheat. Using the cut clover as mulch between wheat rows led to decreased N concentrations in the wheat plants’ leaves and stems. The present study provides preliminary information on the amount of N transferred from clover to wheat in an intercropping system.

Key words: intercropping, winter wheat, white clover, nitrogen transfer, 15N natural abundance method