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Agronomy 2017, 7(2), 39; doi:10.3390/agronomy7020039

N2 Fixation of Common and Hairy Vetches when Intercropped into Switchgrass

1
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, Fayetteville, AR 72927, USA
2
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3
Department of Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
4
Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
5
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
6
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, 6883 S. Hwy 23, Booneville, AR 72927, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bertrand Hirel
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rhizobium-legume Symbiosis Effects on Plants)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [229 KB, uploaded 8 June 2017]

Abstract

Interest in sustainable alternatives to synthetic nitrogen (N) for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) forage and bioenergy production, such as biological N2 fixation (BNF) via legume-intercropping, continues to increase. The objectives were to: (i) test physical and chemical scarification techniques (10 total) for common vetch (Vicia sativa L.); (ii) assess whether switchgrass yield is increased by BNF under optimum seed dormancy suppression methods; and (iii) determine BNF rates of common and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa L.) via the N-difference method. Results indicate that chemical scarification (sulfuric acid) and mechanical pretreatment (0.7 kg of pressure for one minute) improve common vetch germination by 60% and 50%, respectively, relative to controls. Under optimum scarification methods, BNF was 59.3 and 43.3 kg·N·ha−1 when seeded at 7 kg pure live seed ha−1 for common and hairy vetch, respectively. However, at this seeding rate, switchgrass yields were not affected by BNF (p > 0.05). Based on BNF rates and plant density estimates, seeding rates of 8 and 10 kg pure live seed (PLS) ha−1 for common and hairy vetch, respectively, would be required to obtain plant densities sufficient for BNF at the current recommended rate of 67 kg·N·ha−1 for switchgrass biomass production in the Southeastern U.S. View Full-Text
Keywords: biological nitrogen fixation; legume intercropping; biomass sustainability; N-difference method biological nitrogen fixation; legume intercropping; biomass sustainability; N-difference method
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ashworth, A.J.; Allen, F.L.; Warwick, K.S.; Keyser, P.D.; Bates, G.E.; Tyler, D.D.; Lambdin, P.L.; Pote, D.H. N2 Fixation of Common and Hairy Vetches when Intercropped into Switchgrass. Agronomy 2017, 7, 39.

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