Agronomy 2013, 3(1), 148-180; doi:10.3390/agronomy3010148
Review

Improving Resilience of Northern Field Crop Systems Using Inter-Seeded Red Clover: A Review

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Received: 3 December 2012; in revised form: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 29 January 2013 / Published: 8 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: In light of the environmental challenges ahead, resilience of the most abundant field crop production systems must be improved to guarantee yield stability with more efficient use of nitrogen inputs, soil and water resources. Along with genetic and agronomic innovations, diversification of northern agro-ecosystems using inter-seeded legumes provides further opportunities to improve land management practices that sustain crop yields and their resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses. Benefits of legume cover crops have been known for decades and red clover (Trifolium pratense) is one of the most common and beneficial when frost-seeded under winter wheat in advance of maize in a rotation. However, its use has been declining mostly due to the use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, concerns over competition with the main crop and the inability to fully capture red clover benefits due to difficulties in the persistence of uniform stands. In this manuscript, we first review the environmental, agronomic, rotational and economical benefits associated with inter-seeded red clover. Red clover adaptation to a wide array of common wheat-based rotations, its potential to mitigate the effects of land degradation in a changing climate and its integration into sustainable food production systems are discussed. We then identify areas of research with significant potential to impact cropping system profitability and sustainability.
Keywords: red clover; Trifolium pratense; cropping system; wheat; cover crop; inter-seeding; resilience; input use efficiency
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gaudin, A.C.M.; Westra, S.; Loucks, C.E.S.; Janovicek, K.; Martin, R.C.; Deen, W. Improving Resilience of Northern Field Crop Systems Using Inter-Seeded Red Clover: A Review. Agronomy 2013, 3, 148-180.

AMA Style

Gaudin ACM, Westra S, Loucks CES, Janovicek K, Martin RC, Deen W. Improving Resilience of Northern Field Crop Systems Using Inter-Seeded Red Clover: A Review. Agronomy. 2013; 3(1):148-180.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gaudin, Amélie C.M.; Westra, Sabrina; Loucks, Cora E.S.; Janovicek, Ken; Martin, Ralph C.; Deen, William. 2013. "Improving Resilience of Northern Field Crop Systems Using Inter-Seeded Red Clover: A Review." Agronomy 3, no. 1: 148-180.

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