There is not sufficient knowledge concerning the risks involved in NO3-N leaching in relation to the use of cover crops and mulches. A 2 year field experiment was carried out in a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) crop transplanted into different soil management treatments which involved the addition of mulch of three different types of winter cover crops (CC) [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), subclover (Trifolium subterraneum L.), and a mixture of hairy vetch/oat (Avena sativa L.)], and an un-mulched plot. At the time of CC conversion into mulch, the hairy vetch/oat mixture accumulated the highest aboveground biomass (5.30 t ha(-1) of DM), while hairy vetch in pure stand accumulated the highest quantity of N (177 kg ha(-1)) and showed the lowest C/N ratio (12). The marketable pepper yield was higher in mulched than in conventional (on average 33.5, 28.9, 27.7 and 22.2 t ha(-1) of FM for hairy vetch, subclover, hairy vetch/oat mixture, and conventional, respectively). Generally, the NO3-N content of the soil was minimum at CC sowing, slightly higher at pepper transplanting and maximum at pepper harvesting (on average 15.2, 16.8, and 23.3 mg NO3-N kg(-1) of dry soil, respectively). The cumulative leachate was higher during the CC period (from October to April) than the pepper crop period (from April to September), on average 102.1 vs 66.1 mm over the years, respectively. The cumulative NO3-N leached greatly depended on the type of mulch and it was 102.3, 95.3, 94.7, and 48.2 kg ha(-1) in hairy vetch, subclover, hairy vetch/oat mixture, and conventional, respectively. A positive linear correlation was found between the N accumulated in the CC aboveground biomass and the NO3-N leached during pepper cultivation (R (2) = 0.87). This research shows that winter legume cover crops, especially hairy vetch in pure stand, converted into dead mulch in spring could be used successfully for adding N to the soil and increasing the yield of the following pepper crop although the risks of N losses via leaching could be increased compared to an un-mulched soil. Therefore when leguminous mulches are used in the cultivation of a summer crop, appropriate management practices of the system, such as a better control of the amount of irrigation water and the cultivation of a graminaceous or a cruciferous catch crop after the harvesting of the summer crop, should be adopted in order to avoid an increase in NO3-N leaching.

Legume cover crops and mulches: effects on nitrate leaching and nitrogen input in a pepper crop (Capsicum annuum L.)

Emanuele Radicetti
Penultimo
;
2011

Abstract

There is not sufficient knowledge concerning the risks involved in NO3-N leaching in relation to the use of cover crops and mulches. A 2 year field experiment was carried out in a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) crop transplanted into different soil management treatments which involved the addition of mulch of three different types of winter cover crops (CC) [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), subclover (Trifolium subterraneum L.), and a mixture of hairy vetch/oat (Avena sativa L.)], and an un-mulched plot. At the time of CC conversion into mulch, the hairy vetch/oat mixture accumulated the highest aboveground biomass (5.30 t ha(-1) of DM), while hairy vetch in pure stand accumulated the highest quantity of N (177 kg ha(-1)) and showed the lowest C/N ratio (12). The marketable pepper yield was higher in mulched than in conventional (on average 33.5, 28.9, 27.7 and 22.2 t ha(-1) of FM for hairy vetch, subclover, hairy vetch/oat mixture, and conventional, respectively). Generally, the NO3-N content of the soil was minimum at CC sowing, slightly higher at pepper transplanting and maximum at pepper harvesting (on average 15.2, 16.8, and 23.3 mg NO3-N kg(-1) of dry soil, respectively). The cumulative leachate was higher during the CC period (from October to April) than the pepper crop period (from April to September), on average 102.1 vs 66.1 mm over the years, respectively. The cumulative NO3-N leached greatly depended on the type of mulch and it was 102.3, 95.3, 94.7, and 48.2 kg ha(-1) in hairy vetch, subclover, hairy vetch/oat mixture, and conventional, respectively. A positive linear correlation was found between the N accumulated in the CC aboveground biomass and the NO3-N leached during pepper cultivation (R (2) = 0.87). This research shows that winter legume cover crops, especially hairy vetch in pure stand, converted into dead mulch in spring could be used successfully for adding N to the soil and increasing the yield of the following pepper crop although the risks of N losses via leaching could be increased compared to an un-mulched soil. Therefore when leguminous mulches are used in the cultivation of a summer crop, appropriate management practices of the system, such as a better control of the amount of irrigation water and the cultivation of a graminaceous or a cruciferous catch crop after the harvesting of the summer crop, should be adopted in order to avoid an increase in NO3-N leaching.
2011
Campiglia, Enio; Mancinelli, Roberto; Radicetti, Emanuele; Marinari, Sara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2528193
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