Forage yield, soil water depletion, shoot nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and concentration, of young and old stands of alfalfa in response to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisation in a semiarid environment

Jing-wei Fan, Yan Lei Du, Bing-Ru Wang, Neil C. Turner, Tao Wang, Lynette K. Abbott, Katia Stefanova, Kadambot Siddique, Feng Min Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is an important forage legume in crop–pasture and animal husbandry systems in the semiarid Loess Plateau of China, but comprehensive studies on forage yield, shoot N and P relationships, and soil water use as affected by nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertility levels are scarce. The objective of this study was to assess the yield response of alfalfa stands of different ages following N and P fertiliser application in relation to water use in the semiarid region of the Loess Plateau. Field experiments were conducted from 2011 to 2014 in newly-established (young) and well-established (old) rainfed alfalfa stands, planted in 2010 and 2005, respectively, on the semiarid Loess Plateau. Treatments were a factorial combination of two N rates (0 and 70 kg N ha−1) and three P rates (0, 17 and 34 kg P ha−1), applied annually, arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Forage biomass was measured in mid-July and mid-October each year. The forage yield of the two alfalfa stands increased with N and P fertilisation, but path analysis indicated that it was also affected by rainfall. Water use was greater in the young than the old stand. The water content in the 1–4 m soil layer of the young stand decreased each year from establishment; greater water depletion occurred with N and P fertilisation. In the five-year-old stand, the soil water content changed little over the four growing seasons, and N and P fertilisation did not affect the already depleted soil water content. Shoot P concentration was weakly, but positively, associated with shoot N concentration. The risk of low relative forage yield was greater when the shoot N:P ratio was more than 17. We conclude that N and P fertilisation, particularly P fertilisation, increases forage yield in both young and old rainfed alfalfa stands in a semiarid environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalField Crops Research
Volume198
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Fingerprint

forage yield
alfalfa
forage
shoot
soil water
phosphorus
loess
shoots
nitrogen
soil water content
plateaus
water use
water content
plateau
water
forage legumes
animal husbandry
path analysis
Medicago sativa
yield response

Cite this

@article{1b2f0a92d1394922b677c984b87ba944,
title = "Forage yield, soil water depletion, shoot nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and concentration, of young and old stands of alfalfa in response to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisation in a semiarid environment",
abstract = "Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is an important forage legume in crop–pasture and animal husbandry systems in the semiarid Loess Plateau of China, but comprehensive studies on forage yield, shoot N and P relationships, and soil water use as affected by nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertility levels are scarce. The objective of this study was to assess the yield response of alfalfa stands of different ages following N and P fertiliser application in relation to water use in the semiarid region of the Loess Plateau. Field experiments were conducted from 2011 to 2014 in newly-established (young) and well-established (old) rainfed alfalfa stands, planted in 2010 and 2005, respectively, on the semiarid Loess Plateau. Treatments were a factorial combination of two N rates (0 and 70 kg N ha−1) and three P rates (0, 17 and 34 kg P ha−1), applied annually, arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Forage biomass was measured in mid-July and mid-October each year. The forage yield of the two alfalfa stands increased with N and P fertilisation, but path analysis indicated that it was also affected by rainfall. Water use was greater in the young than the old stand. The water content in the 1–4 m soil layer of the young stand decreased each year from establishment; greater water depletion occurred with N and P fertilisation. In the five-year-old stand, the soil water content changed little over the four growing seasons, and N and P fertilisation did not affect the already depleted soil water content. Shoot P concentration was weakly, but positively, associated with shoot N concentration. The risk of low relative forage yield was greater when the shoot N:P ratio was more than 17. We conclude that N and P fertilisation, particularly P fertilisation, increases forage yield in both young and old rainfed alfalfa stands in a semiarid environment.",
keywords = "Medicago sativa L., Nitrogen:phosphorus ratio, Stand age, Water use, Water use efficiency",
author = "Jing-wei Fan and Du, {Yan Lei} and Bing-Ru Wang and Turner, {Neil C.} and Tao Wang and Abbott, {Lynette K.} and Katia Stefanova and Kadambot Siddique and Li, {Feng Min}",
year = "2016",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.fcr.2016.08.014",
language = "English",
volume = "198",
pages = "247--257",
journal = "Field Crop Research",
issn = "0378-4290",
publisher = "Pergamon",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Forage yield, soil water depletion, shoot nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and concentration, of young and old stands of alfalfa in response to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisation in a semiarid environment

AU - Fan, Jing-wei

AU - Du, Yan Lei

AU - Wang, Bing-Ru

AU - Turner, Neil C.

AU - Wang, Tao

AU - Abbott, Lynette K.

AU - Stefanova, Katia

AU - Siddique, Kadambot

AU - Li, Feng Min

PY - 2016/11/1

Y1 - 2016/11/1

N2 - Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is an important forage legume in crop–pasture and animal husbandry systems in the semiarid Loess Plateau of China, but comprehensive studies on forage yield, shoot N and P relationships, and soil water use as affected by nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertility levels are scarce. The objective of this study was to assess the yield response of alfalfa stands of different ages following N and P fertiliser application in relation to water use in the semiarid region of the Loess Plateau. Field experiments were conducted from 2011 to 2014 in newly-established (young) and well-established (old) rainfed alfalfa stands, planted in 2010 and 2005, respectively, on the semiarid Loess Plateau. Treatments were a factorial combination of two N rates (0 and 70 kg N ha−1) and three P rates (0, 17 and 34 kg P ha−1), applied annually, arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Forage biomass was measured in mid-July and mid-October each year. The forage yield of the two alfalfa stands increased with N and P fertilisation, but path analysis indicated that it was also affected by rainfall. Water use was greater in the young than the old stand. The water content in the 1–4 m soil layer of the young stand decreased each year from establishment; greater water depletion occurred with N and P fertilisation. In the five-year-old stand, the soil water content changed little over the four growing seasons, and N and P fertilisation did not affect the already depleted soil water content. Shoot P concentration was weakly, but positively, associated with shoot N concentration. The risk of low relative forage yield was greater when the shoot N:P ratio was more than 17. We conclude that N and P fertilisation, particularly P fertilisation, increases forage yield in both young and old rainfed alfalfa stands in a semiarid environment.

AB - Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is an important forage legume in crop–pasture and animal husbandry systems in the semiarid Loess Plateau of China, but comprehensive studies on forage yield, shoot N and P relationships, and soil water use as affected by nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertility levels are scarce. The objective of this study was to assess the yield response of alfalfa stands of different ages following N and P fertiliser application in relation to water use in the semiarid region of the Loess Plateau. Field experiments were conducted from 2011 to 2014 in newly-established (young) and well-established (old) rainfed alfalfa stands, planted in 2010 and 2005, respectively, on the semiarid Loess Plateau. Treatments were a factorial combination of two N rates (0 and 70 kg N ha−1) and three P rates (0, 17 and 34 kg P ha−1), applied annually, arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Forage biomass was measured in mid-July and mid-October each year. The forage yield of the two alfalfa stands increased with N and P fertilisation, but path analysis indicated that it was also affected by rainfall. Water use was greater in the young than the old stand. The water content in the 1–4 m soil layer of the young stand decreased each year from establishment; greater water depletion occurred with N and P fertilisation. In the five-year-old stand, the soil water content changed little over the four growing seasons, and N and P fertilisation did not affect the already depleted soil water content. Shoot P concentration was weakly, but positively, associated with shoot N concentration. The risk of low relative forage yield was greater when the shoot N:P ratio was more than 17. We conclude that N and P fertilisation, particularly P fertilisation, increases forage yield in both young and old rainfed alfalfa stands in a semiarid environment.

KW - Medicago sativa L.

KW - Nitrogen:phosphorus ratio

KW - Stand age

KW - Water use

KW - Water use efficiency

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84991798422&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.08.014

DO - 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.08.014

M3 - Article

VL - 198

SP - 247

EP - 257

JO - Field Crop Research

JF - Field Crop Research

SN - 0378-4290

ER -