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Specific interactions leading to transgressive overyielding in cover crop mixtures

By Marina Wendling, Lucie Büchi, Camille Amossé, Bernard Jeangros, Achim Walter and Raphaël Charles


Growing mixtures of species instead of sole crops is expected to increase the ecosystem services provided by cover crops. This study aimed at understanding the interactions between species and investigating how they affect the performance of the mixture. Four species were combined in six bispecific mixtures in a field experiment. The performance of each species when grown in a mixture was compared to its performance as a sole crop at different sowing densities, to characterise the influence of intra- and interspecific competition for each species. Intra- and interspecific competition coefficients were quantified using a response surface design and the hyperbolic yield-density equation. Interactions between the four species ranged from facilitation to competition. Most of the mixtures exhibited transgressive overyielding. Without nitrogen (N) fertilisation, high complementarity between species allowed to achieve the highest biomass. With N fertilisation, high dominance of one mixture component should be avoided to achieve good performance. A revised approach in the use of the land equivalent ratio for the evaluation of cover crop mixtures is also proposed in this study. It allows to better identify transgressive overyielding in mixtures and to better characterise the effect of one species on the other within the mixture

Topics: Production systems, Weed management
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.agee.2017.03.003
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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