WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Organic & Integrated Tree Fruit Production

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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1015. Bowren, K.E. (ed.).. 1986. Soil improvement with legumes.. Saskatchewan Agriculture, Soils and Crops Branch.
This excellent publication summarizes research over the past 40 years pertaining to the use of legumes for soil improvement in Saskatchewan. The role of legumes in maintaining soil nitrogen was crucial prior to available fertilizer. But their value extends beyond their nitrogen contribution to the improvement of soil physical properties. One study found the tillage draft requirement to be up to one-third lower where legumes had been a regular part of the rotation. The positive effects of alfalfa were measured for over ten years in a series of wheat crops compared to plots with no alfalfa. Over 17 years, the average grain yield from a wheat-wheat/clover-clover green manure rotation with no fertilizer were 30% higher that a wheat-wheat-fallow rotation with fertilizer. Moisture depletion by legumes is the biggest hurdle to their use in very dry areas. Adequate fertility for the legumes is necessary to maximize their benefit. Use of selected Rhizobium strains can improve nitrogen fixation, especially on acid soils. Several varieties of sweetclover are mentioned with adaptation to forage or green manure use. The booklet has numerous color photos and many data tables and figures.

10756. Laird, E.. 1988. Grain legume mixtures and intercropping.. Proc. Crop diversification in sustainable agriculture systems, Univ. Sask., Saskatoon, p. 20-25.
The experience of several Saskatchewan farmers with intercropping is discussed. Some examples are durum wheat and flax, spring wheat and fall rye, rye and oats, rye and flax, peas and oats, mustard and peas, clover and oats. With wheat and rye, seeded together in the spring, the wheat is harvested the first year and the rye the next year. The rye discourages broadleaf weeds.

10786. Biederbeck, V.O.. 1988. Replacing fallow with annual legumes for plowdown or feed.. Proc. Crop diversification in sustainable agriculture systems, Univ. Sask., Saskatoon. p. 46-51.
Saskatchewan researchers tested several legumes as possible fallow replacements. Inoculation greatly improved growth and water use efficiency of the legumes, with an average of 2000 lb/ac dry matter and water use efficiency of 1490 lb H2O/lb DM. Legumes fixed an average of 44 lb N/ac. Chickling vetch performed the best, but since wheat yields were similar after all species, Indianhead lentil proved to be the most economic choice.

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