, Volume 212, Issue 2, pp 105-114

Interspecific complementary and competitive interactions between intercropped maize and faba bean

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Abstract

Interspecific complementary and competitive interactions between maize (Zea mays L. cv. Zhongdan No. 2) and faba bean (Vicia faba L. cv. Linxia Dacaidou) in maize/faba bean intercropping systems were assessed in two field experiments in Gansu province, northwestern China, plus a microplot experiment in one treatment of one of the field experiments in which root system partitions were used to determine interspecific root interactions. Intercropping effects were detected, with land equivalent ratio values of 1.21–1.23 based on total (grain+straw) yield and 1.13–1.34 based on grain yield. When two rows of maize were intercropped with two rows of faba bean, both total yield and grain yield of both crop species were significantly higher than those of sole maize and faba bean on an equivalent area basis. When two rows of pea (Pisum sativum L. cv. Beijing No. 5) were intercropped with two rows of faba bean, neither total yield nor grain yield of faba bean was higher than of sole faba bean on an equivalent area basis. Interspecific competition between maize and faba bean was relatively weak, with mean relative crowding coefficients of 0.99–1.02 for maize and 1.55–1.59 for faba bean. The microplot experiment in which partitions were placed between root systems showed a significant positive yield effect on maize when the root systems intermingled freely (no partition) or partly (400 mesh nylon net partition) compared with no interspecific root interaction (plastic sheet partition).

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.