Intercropping of Faba Bean with Barley at Various Spatial Arrangements Affects Dry Matter and N Yield, Nitrogen Nutrition Index, and Interspecific Competition
Intercropping is the cultivation of two or more crop species on the same area of land, and can improve yield, forage quality, and soil health. Despite the fact that intercropping is an old practice, it received significant attention the last years because of the environmental impact that it has. However, the effect of the various spatial arrangements of the different species that are used in an intercropping system was not determined. The objective of the present study was to study the yield, growth and nitrogen (N) uptake rate, N nutrition index (NNI) of barley, interspecific competition, quality and financial outcome of intercrops of faba bean (Vicia faba L. var. equina) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with various spatial arrangements (1:1, 2:2, 2:1 alternate rows, and mixed in the same row). The land equivalent ratio (LER), relative crowding coefficient (K), actual yield loss (AYL) and system productivity index (SPI) values were greater for the FB:B intercrop of 2:1, indicating the advantage of intercropping in terms of dry matter and N yield. Sole cropping of barley showed a reduction in NNI by 7 %, whereas NNI for barley increased by an average of 14% in intercropping treatments. Based on biomass production and the competition indices for dry matter and N yield, and NNI the FB:B intercrop of 2:1 was more advantageous than faba bean and barley monocrops, as well as the other intercropping treatments that were tested.
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