Export file:

Format

  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text

Content

  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures

1 Louis Bolk Institute, Kosterijland 3-5, 3981AJ Bunnik, the Netherlands
2 Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6500 GL Nijmegen, the Netherlands
3 Applied Research Field Crops, Wageningen University & Research, Edelhertweg 1, 8219PH, Lelystad, the Netherlands

Grass-clover mixtures show many benefits for sustainable agriculture. In the Netherlands, organic farmers often work together in a so-called partner farm concept, with the aim to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. In this system, arable farms grow one-year grass-clover leys, as fodder for a livestock farm, in exchange for, e.g., manure. This practice could also be used in the transition of conventional farms towards a more circular regenerative and nature inclusive agriculture. In the current experiment we assessed the effect of a range of grass (Lolium perenne: Lp, Lolium multiflorum: Lm) and clover (Trifolium pratense: Tp and Trifolium repens: Tr) monocultures and mixtures on both below- and aboveground parameters in light of benefits for livestock and arable farms, and biodiversity. The grass monocultures showed good weed suppression, high root density, and especially Lp had a positive effect on soil structure. Clover, on the other hand, showed high herbage dry matter yield (particularly Tp) and Nitrogen (N) yield, and Tr showed high digestibility. Moreover, clover had a positive effect on the soil mineral N, and earthworm abundance tended to be higher in the clover monocultures. When (some of) the four species were combined in grass-clover mixtures, they combined the positive effects of the species and often even outperformed the (best) monocultures. We concluded that grass-clover mixtures increased agro-ecological functions.
  Figure/Table
  Supplementary
  Article Metrics

Keywords Trifolium pratense; Trifolium repens; Lolium perenne; Lolium multiflorum; agrobiodiversity; regenerative agriculture

Citation: Brechtje R. de Haas, Nyncke J. Hoekstra, Jan R. van der Schoot , Eric J.W. Visser, Hans de Kroon, Nick van Eekeren. Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2019, 4(3): 547-567. doi: 10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547

References

  • 1. Oerlemans N, Van Strien W, Herder J, et al. (2015) Living planet report: Natuur in Nederland: Wereld Natuur Fonds.
  • 2. Henle K, Alard D, Clitherow J, et al. (2008) Identifying and managing the conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in Europe-a review. Agric, Ecosyst Environ 124: 60–71.    
  • 3. Erisman JW, Van Eekeren N, De Wit J, et al. (2016) Agriculture and biodiversity: A better balance benefits both. AIMS Agric Food 1: 157–174.    
  • 4. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB, Manning AD (2006) Biodiversity, ecosystem function, and resilience: Ten guiding principles for commodity production landscapes. Front Ecol Environ 4: 80–86.    
  • 5. Lüscher A, Mueller‐Harvey I, Soussana JF, et al. (2014) Potential of legume‐based grassland-livestock systems in Europe: A review. Grass Forage Sci 69: 206–228.    
  • 6. Van Eekeren N, Van Liere D, De Vries F, et al. (2009) A mixture of grass and clover combines the positive effects of both plant species on selected soil biota. Appl Soil Ecol 42: 254–263.    
  • 7. Finn JA, Kirwan L, Connolly J, et al. (2013) Ecosystem function enhanced by combining four functional types of plant species in intensively managed grassland mixtures: A 3‐year continental‐scale field experiment. J Appl Ecol 50: 365–375.    
  • 8. Lüscher G, Jeanneret P, Schneider MK, et al. (2015) Strikingly high effect of geographic location on fauna and flora of European agricultural grasslands. Basic Appl Ecol 16: 281–290.    
  • 9. Biesmeijer JC, Roberts SP, Reemer M, et al. (2006) Parallel declines in pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands. Science 313: 351–354.    
  • 10. Corbet SA, Williams IH, Osborne JL (1991) Bees and the pollination of crops and wild flowers in the European Community. Bee World 72: 47–59.    
  • 11. Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit (2018) Landbouw, natuur en voedsel: Waardevol en verbonden.
  • 12. Nauta W, Van der Burgt G, Baars T (1999) Partner farms: A participatory approach to collaboration between specialised organic farms. 149–158.
  • 13. Isbell F, Adler PR, Eisenhauer N, et al. (2017) Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems. J Ecol 105: 871–879.    
  • 14. Hoekstra N, Finn J, Hofer D, et al. (2014) The effect of drought and interspecific interactions on depth of water uptake in deep-and shallow-rooting grassland species as determined by 18O natural abundance. Biogeosciences 11: 4493.
  • 15. De Wit J, Rietberg PI, Van Eekeren N (2015) Type of grass influences clover proportion and production of grass-clover leys. Grassl Sci Eur 20: 197–199.
  • 16. Peerlkamp P (1959) A visual method of soil structure evaluation. Meded vd Landbouwhogeschool en Opzoekingsstations van de Staat te Gent 24: 216–221.
  • 17. Shepherd T (2000) Visual Soil Assessment. Field guide for pastoral grazing and cropping on flat to rolling country. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Horizons Regional Council & Landcare Research.
  • 18. De Boer HC, Deru JGC, Van Eekeren N (2018) Sward lifting in compacted grassland: Effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity. Soil Tillage Res 184: 317–325.    
  • 19. ISO (2013) ISO 15923-1:2013 Water quality-determination of selected parameters by discrete analysis systems-part 1: Ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, chloride, orthophosphate, sulfate and silicate with photometric detection.
  • 20. Bouché M (1977) Strategies lombriciennes. Ecol Bull 25: 122–132.
  • 21. Fox J, Weisberg S (2011) An R companion to applied regression. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
  • 22. De Mendiburu F (2015) Agricolae: Statistical procedures for agricultural research.
  • 23. Schmid B, Hector A, Saha P, et al. (2008) Biodiversity effects and transgressive overyielding. J Plant Ecol 1: 95–102.    
  • 24. Kirwan L, Connolly J, Finn J, et al. (2009) Diversity-interaction modeling: Astimating contributions of species identities and interactions to ecosystem function. Ecology 90: 2032–2038.    
  • 25. R Core Team (2014) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
  • 26. Hoekstra NJ, De Deyn GB, Xu Y, et al. (2018) Red clover varieties of Mattenklee type have higher production, protein yield and persistence than Ackerklee types in grass-clover mixtures. Grass Forage Sci 73: 297–308.    
  • 27. Hooper DU, Chapin F, Ewel J, et al. (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: A consensus of current knowledge. Ecol Monogr 75: 3–35.    
  • 28. Mommer L, Van Ruijven J, De Caluwe H, et al. (2010) Unveiling below‐ground species abundance in a biodiversity experiment: a test of vertical niche differentiation among grassland species. J Ecol 98: 1117–1127.    
  • 29. Nyfeler D, Huguenin-Elie O, Suter M, et al. (2011) Grass–legume mixtures can yield more nitrogen than legume pure stands due to mutual stimulation of nitrogen uptake from symbiotic and non-symbiotic sources. Agric, Ecosyst Environ 140: 155–163.    
  • 30. Cardinale BJ, Wright JP, Cadotte MW, et al. (2007) Impacts of plant diversity on biomass production increase through time because of species complementarity. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104: 18123–18128.    
  • 31. Pirhofer-Walzl K, Rasmussen J, Høgh-Jensen H, et al. (2012) Nitrogen transfer from forage legumes to nine neighbouring plants in a multi-species grassland. Plant Soil 350: 71–84.    
  • 32. Nyfeler D, Huguenin‐Elie O, Suter M, et al. (2009) Strong mixture effects among four species in fertilized agricultural grassland led to persistent and consistent transgressive overyielding. J Appl Ecol 46: 683–691.    
  • 33. Husse S, Lüscher A, Buchmann N, et al. (2017) Effects of mixing forage species contrasting in vertical and temporal nutrient capture on nutrient yields and fertilizer recovery in productive grasslands. Plant Soil 420: 505–521.    
  • 34. Agabriel J (2007) Alimentation des bovins, ovins et caprins: Besoins des animaux-Valeurs des aliments. Paris, France: Editions Quae.
  • 35. Schmidt MW, Torn MS, Abiven S, et al. (2011) Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature 478: 49.    
  • 36. Bardgett RD, Mommer L, De Vries FT (2014) Going underground: Root traits as drivers of ecosystem processes. Trends Ecol Evol 29: 692–699.    
  • 37. Suter M, Hofer D, Lüscher A (2017) Weed suppression enhanced by increasing functional trait dispersion and resource capture in forage ley mixtures. Agric, Ecosyst Environt 240: 329–339.    
  • 38. Gould IJ, Quinton JN, Weigelt A, et al. (2016) Plant diversity and root traits benefit physical properties key to soil function in grasslands. Ecol Lett 19: 1140–1149.    
  • 39. Van Eekeren N, Bos M, De Wit J, et al. (2010) Effect of individual grass species and grass species mixtures on soil quality as related to root biomass and grass yield. Appl Soil Ecol 45: 275–283.    
  • 40. Zangerle A, Pando A, Lavelle P (2011) Do earthworms and roots cooperate to build soil macroaggregates? A microcosm experiment. Geoderma 167–68: 303–309.
  • 41. Mommer L, Padilla FM, Ruijven J, et al. (2015) Diversity effects on root length production and loss in an experimental grassland community. Funct Ecol 29: 1560–1568.    
  • 42. Maron JL, Marler M, Klironomos JN, et al. (2011) Soil fungal pathogens and the relationship between plant diversity and productivity. Ecol Lett 14: 36–41.    
  • 43. Mazzoleni S, Bonanomi G, Incerti G, et al. (2015) Inhibitory and toxic effects of extracellular self‐DNA in litter: A mechanism for negative plant–soil feedbacks? New Phytol 205: 1195–1210.    
  • 44. De Kroon H, Hendriks M, Van Ruijven J, et al. (2012) Root responses to nutrients and soil biota: Drivers of species coexistence and ecosystem productivity. J Ecol 100: 6–15.    
  • 45. Kautz T, Stumm C, Kösters R, et al. (2010) Effects of perennial fodder crops on soil structure in agricultural headlands. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 173: 490–501.    
  • 46. Horn R, Hartge K, Bachmann J, et al. (2007) Mechanical stresses in soils assessed from bulk-density and penetration-resistance data sets. Soil Sci Soc Am J 71: 1455–1459.    
  • 47. Munroe JW, Isaac ME (2014) N2-fixing trees and the transfer of fixed-N for sustainable agroforestry: A review. Agron Sustainable Dev 34: 417–427.    
  • 48. Thilakarathna M, Papadopoulos Y, Rodd A, et al. (2016) Nitrogen fixation and transfer of red clover genotypes under legume–grass forage based production systems. Nutr Cycling Agroecosyst 106: 233–247.    
  • 49. Rutgers M, Schouten A, Bloem J, et al. (2009) Biological measurements in a nationwide soil monitoring network. Eur J Soil Sci 60: 820–832.    
  • 50. Shipitalo M, Protz R, Tomlin A (1988) Effect of diet on the feeding and casting activity of Lumbricus terrestris and L. rubellus in laboratory culture. Soil Biol Biochem 20: 233–237.    
  • 51. Syers J, Springett J (1984) Earthworms and soil fertility. Biological processes and soil fertility, Springer, 93–104.
  • 52. Mulder C, Boit A, Bonkowski M, et al. (2011) A belowground perspective on Dutch agroecosystems: How soil organisms interact to support ecosystem services. Adv Ecol Res 44: 277–357.    
  • 53. Devereux CL, Mckeever CU, Benton TG, et al. (2004) The effect of sward height and drainage on common starlings Sturnus vulgaris and northern lapwings Vanellus vanellus foraging in grassland habitats. Ibis 146: 115–122.    
  • 54. Schlaich AE, Klaassen RH, Bouten W, et al. (2015) Testing a novel agri‐environment scheme based on the ecology of the target species, Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus. Ibis 157: 713–721.    
  • 55. Kleijn D, Fijen T, Raemakers I, et al. (2017) Het behoud van wilde bijen in het landelijk gebied: Is bloemen zaaien de oplossing. De Levende Natuur 118: 98–103.
  • 56. Kentie R, Hooijmeijer JC, Trimbos KB, et al. (2013) Intensified agricultural use of grasslands reduces growth and survival of precocial shorebird chicks. J Appl Ecol 50: 243–251.    

 

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

© 2019 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved