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Intercropping legumes into sunflower at different growth stages

Kandel, H.J., Schneiter, A.A., Johnson, B.L.
Crop science 1997 v.37 no.5 pp. 1532-1537
height, plant characteristics, Helianthus annuus, Vicia villosa, Melilotus officinalis, Medicago scutellata, Medicago sativa, Lens culinaris, intercropping, cultivars, crop residues, soil conservation, nitrogen fixation, soil organic matter, crop yield, seeds, diameter, genotype-environment interaction, harvest date, precipitation, air temperature, sowing date, biomass production, North Dakota
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) residue is fragile and does not provide a lot of ground cover. Legumes intercropped in sunflower could increase soil cover, reduce soil erosion, and add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. Field studies were designed to evaluate the effect of different sowing dates of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), yellow-flowered sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis Lam.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), snail medic [Medicago scutellata (L.) Mill.], and black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) intercropped in dwarf and standard-height oilseed sunflower on agronomic traits of sunflower. Legumes were sown the same time as sunflower and at the V4 and V10 sunflower growth stages. Studies were conducted at Carrington (1992 and 1993) and Prosper (1992, 1993, and 1994), North Dakota. Sunflower oil content was not influenced by intercropped legumes. When sown at the same time as sunflower, all legumes, except black lentil, reduced sunflower seed yield. Black lentil produced 1385 kg ha-1 dry matter. Compared with the control, sunflower achenes per head, and head diameter were reduced by legumes sown at the same time as sunflower. Sunflower yield, head diameter, achenes per head, and 1000-achene weight were not significantly lower when legumes were sown at the V4 or V10 sunflower growth stages. Hairy vetch is recommended for intercropping at V4 and V10 sunflower growth stages because it did not reduce sunflower yield and on average produced 1593 and 831 kg ha-1 dry matter. At the drier environment, Carrington 1992, biomass produced by the legumes was low when legumes were sown at the V4 or V10 sunflower growth stages, with 314 and 57 kg ha-1, respectively. Sweetclover could be sown at the V4 growth stage of sunflower to establish it as a cover crop for the subsequent season.