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Gone and forgotten: facilitative effects of intercropping combinations did not carry over to affect barley performance in a follow-up crop rotation (2021.0)

Kumar A., Rosinger C., Chen H., Protic S., Bonkowski M., Temperton V.

Plant and Soil, 467 (1-2), 405-419



Abstract Aim Intercropping often leads to improved productivity of individual species compared to monocultures. We have practically little knowledge of facilitation effects in different intercropping systems and their importance in creating soil legacies that can indirectly affect the succeeding crop in a crop rotation through plant-soil feedback (PSF) effects. Methods To test this, we used a two-phased field experiment where we combined intercropping and crop rotation. During intercropping, we grew maize, faba bean, and lupine in monocultures or two-species crop combinations. The following season, we grew winter barley on the soil previously used for intercropping to test PSF effects under field conditions. Results We found evidence for facilitative effects on aboveground biomass production that were species-specific with faba bean and maize biomass benefitting when intercropped compared to their expected biomasses in monocultures. Lupine, in contrast, performed best in monocultures. After the intercropping phase, total soil mineral nitrogen was higher in legume monocultures creating soil legacies but this did not affect soil microbial parameters and barley biomass production in the follow-up rotation phase. Conclusions We found support for species-specific positive and negative interactions in intercropping. Our results also demonstrated that soil legacies play no significant role under moderately high nutrient environments. inplamint