Agricultural management of grain legumes: has it led to an increase in nitrogen fixation?

Kessel, C.V. and Hartley, C. (2000) Agricultural management of grain legumes: has it led to an increase in nitrogen fixation? Field Crops Research, 65 (2-3). pp. 165-181.

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Biological nitrogen (N2) fixation is an important aspect of sustainable and environmentally friendly food production and long-term crop productivity. The amount of N2 fixed is primarily controlled by four principal factors: (1) the effectiveness of the rhizobia–host plant symbiosis, (2) the strength of the sink, i.e., the ability of the host plant to accumulate N, (3) the amount of available soil N and (4) environmental constraints to N2 fixation. Much of the N fixed by grain legumes is removed at harvest, the remainder becomes available to subsequent crops following mineralization, may be incorporated into the soil organic matter, or as with fertilizer N, may be lost from the cropping system. This paper reviews some of the agronomic management practices that affect N2 fixation by grain legumes, asking whether grain legumes can provide an overall net N benefit to the soil when grown in rotation with other crops. A survey of long-term trends in N2 fixation by selected grain legumes is included, and some possible explanations for the observed stagnation in efforts to increase N2 fixation under field conditions are presented.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soil N balance; N fertilizer; Tillage; Inoculant; Intercropping; Rhizobia; Long-term trend; Grain legume
Author Affiliation: Department of Agronomy and Range Science, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Subjects: Plant Production
Divisions: Chickpea
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2013 04:56
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2013 04:56
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