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

  • 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 date: 2012-02-17

  Revised date: 2012-02-25

  Online 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.


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.

Cite this article

SUN Zhenzhong, OUYANG Zhu, LI Fadong, WU Lanfang . Impact of Cutting a Clover Crop on the Nitrogen Supplied to Winter Wheat in an Intercropping System[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2012 , 3(1) : 73 -79 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2012.01.011