Symbiotic Parameters, Growth, Nutrient Uptake as Influenced by Biofertilizers under Conservation Agriculture Practices

  • Harpreet Kaur Virk
  • Guriqbal Singh
  • Poonam Sharma
Research Article


A field experiment was conducted during rainy season 2014 and 2015 at Research Farm of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India to study the effect of conservation agriculture practices (Happy Seeder sowing, Straw Chopper + Zero Tillage and Conventional tillage) and biofertilizers [Bradyrhizobium and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)] on growth, symbiotic parameters and productivity of soybean. The results showed that Happy Seeder sowing and Straw Chopper + Zero Tillage sowing improved the emergence count, leaf area index, photosynthetic active radiation interception, plant height of soybean and symbiotic traits (number and dry weight of nodules and leghaemoglobin content). Highest pods plant−1 and 100-seed weight were recorded in Happy Seeder sowing, followed by Straw Chopper + Zero Tillage sowing and conventional sowing. Based on the mean of two years, Happy Seeder sowing recorded 14.6 and 17.0% higher seed yield than Straw Chopper + Zero Tillage sowing and conventional sowing, respectively. Total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium uptake were significantly higher in Happy Seeder sowing than the other planting methods. Single and dual inoculation of Bradyrhizobium and PGPR did not influence the growth parameters, symbiotic traits, yield attributes, biological, straw and seed yields, nutrient uptake and protein content of soybean significantly. Therefore, retention of crop residues with zero tillage (Happy Seeder sowing) proves to be the best planting method for sustainable productivity of soybean.


Bradyrhizobium Crop residue Happy Seeder PGPR Soybean Zero Tillage 



The authors are extremely thankful to the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India for the financial support. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Gursahib Singh Manes for providing help to conduct this study.

Compliance with Ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Derpsch R (2008) No-till and conservation agriculture: a progress report. In: Goddard T, Zoebisch MA, Gan YT, Ellis W, Watson A, Sombatpanit S (ed) Proc No-till Farming Systems. World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, Bangkok Special Publication No. 3, pp 7–39Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hobbs PR, Sayre K, Gupta R (2008) The role of conservation agriculture in sustainable agriculture. Philos Trans R Soc B 363:543–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dam RF, Mehdi BB, Burgess MSE, Madramootoo CA, Mehuys GR, Callum IR (2005) Soil bulk density and crop yield under eleven consecutive years of corn with different tillage and residue practices in a sandy loam soil in central Canada. Soil Till Res 84:41–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Aziz I, Mahmood T, Islam KR (2013) Effect of long term no-till and conventional tillage practices on soil quality. Soil Till Res 131:28–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pedersen P, Lauer JG (2003) Corn and soybean response to rotation sequence, row spacing, and tillage system. Agron J 95:965–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Temperly RJ, Borges R (2006) Tillage and crop rotation impact on soybean grain yield and composition. Agron J 98:999–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Odhiambo JJO, Marenya MO, Mabapa MP (2013) Effect of tillage practices on soybean growth and yield in a semi-arid environment in Limpopo province, South Africa. Afr Crop Sci Conf Proc 11:915–917Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Arora VK, Singh CB, Sidhu AS, Thind SS (2011) Irrigation, tillage and mulching effects on soybean yield and water productivity in relation to soil texture. Agric Water Manage 98:563–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Siczek A, Horn R, Lipiec J, Usowicz B, Lukowski M (2015) Effects of soil deformation and surface mulching on soil physical properties and soybean response related to weather conditions. Soil Till Res 153:175–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhang B, He H, Ding X, Zhang X, Zhang X, Yang X, Filley TR (2012) Soil microbial community dynamics over a maize (Zea mays L.) growing season under conventional- and no-tillage practices in a rainfed agroecosystem. Soil Till Res 124:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aulakh MS, Manchanda JS, Garg AK, Kumar S, Dercon G, Nguyen ML (2012) Crop production and nutrient use efficiency of conservation agriculture for soybean–wheat rotation in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Northwestern India. Soil Till Res 120:50–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dadhich SK, Somani LL, Shilpkar D (2011) Effect of integrated use of fertilizer P, FYM and biofertilizers on soil properties and productivity of soybean–wheat crop sequence. J Adv Dev Res 2:42–46Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Patra RK, Pant LM, Pradhan K (2012) Response of soybean to inoculation with Rhizobial strains: effect on growth, yield, N uptake and soil N status. World J Agric Sci 8:51–54Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zerpa M, Mayz J, Mendez J (2013) Effects of Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculants on soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] growth and nodulation. Ann Biol Res 4:193–199Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rahim N, Abbasi KM, Hameed S (2015) Soybean seed quality characteristics in response to indigenous Bradyrhizobium inoculation and N fertilization in Kashmir-Pakistan. J Am Oil Chem Soc 92:1165–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Masciarelli O, Llanes A, Luna V (2014) A new PGPR co-inoculated with Bradyrhizobium japonicum enhances soybean nodulation. Microbiol Res 169:609–615CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rodriguez H, Gonzalez T, Goire I, Bashan Y (2004) Gluconic acid production and phosphate solubilization by the plant growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum spp. Naturwissenschaften 91:552–555CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bashan Y, de-Bashan LE (2010) How the plant growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum promotes plant growth—a critical assessment. Adv Agron 108:77–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sidhu HS, Manpreet-Singh Humphreys E, Yadvinder-Singh Balwinder-Singh, Dhillon SS, Blackwell J, Bector V, Malkeet-Singh Sarbjit-Singh (2007) The happy seeder enables direct drilling of wheat into rice stubble. Aust J Exp Agric 47:844–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kaur A, Dhaliwal LK, Singh S (2014) Microclimatic variations under different planting methods of rice, Oryza sativa L. Int J Farm Sci 4:24–32Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wilson DO, Reisenauer HM (1963) Determination of leghaemoglobin in legume nodules. Anal Biochem 6:27–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Piper CS (1966) Soil and plant analysis (Asia edition). Hans Publishers, BombayGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Jackson ML (1967) Soil chemical analysis. Practice Hall of India Pvt Ltd, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sosulski FW, Imafidon GI (1990) Amino acid composition and nitrogen to protein conversion factors for animal and plant foods. J Agric Food Chem 8:1351–1356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cochran WG, Cox GM (1967) Experimental designs. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sekhon NK, Hira GS, Sidhu AS, Thind SS (2005) Response of soyabean (Glycine max Mer.) to wheat straw mulching in different cropping seasons. Soil Use Manage 21:422–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ram H, Singh Y, Saini KS, Kler DS, Timsina J (2013) Tillage and planting methods effects on yield, water use efficiency and profitability of soybean-wheat on a loamy sand soil. Expt Agric 49:524–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Singh G (2009) Effects of wheat straw and farmyard manure mulches on overcoming crust effects, improving emergence, growth and yield of soybean and reducing dry matter of weeds. Int J Agric Res 4:418–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jalota SK, Khera R, Chahal SS (2001) Straw management and tillage effects on soil water storage under field conditions. Soil Use Manage 17:282–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Santos HPD, Fontaneli RS, Silva SR, Santi A, Verdi AC, Vargas AM (2015) Long-term effects of four tillage systems and weather conditions on soybean yield and agronomic characteristics in Brazil. Aust J Crop Sci 9:445–452Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sandhu SK, Dhaliwal LK, Singh SP, Sharma A (2011) Microclimate and grain yield of soybean (Glycine max) under different environments. J Res Punjab Agric Univ 48:124–127Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Siczek A, Lipiec J (2011) Soybean nodulation and nitrogen fixation in response to soil compaction and surface straw mulching. Soil Till Res 114:50–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ramesh A, Sharma SK, Sharma MP, Yadav N, Joshi OP (2014) Plant growth-promoting traits in Enterobacter cloacae subsp. dissolvens MDSR9 isolated from soybean rhizosphere and its impact on growth and nutrition of soybean and wheat upon inoculation. Agric Res 3:53–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Saini P, Khanna V (2012) Evaluation of native rhizobacteria as promoters of plant growth for increased yield in lentil (Lens culinaris). Recent Res Sci Technol 4:5–9Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yadvinder-Singh Gupta RK, Gurpreet-Singh Jagmohan-Singh, Sidhu HS, Bijay-Singh (2009) Nitrogen and residue management effects on agronomic productivity and nitrogen use efficiency in rice–wheat system in Indian Punjab. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 84:141–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Zuber SM, Behnke GD, Nafziger ED, Villamil MB (2015) Crop rotation and tillage effects on soil physical and chemical properties in Illinois. Agron J 107:971–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Omondi JK, Mungai NW, Ouma JP, Baijukya FP (2014) Effect of tillage on biological nitrogen fixation and yield of soybean (Glycine max L. Merril) varieties. Aust J Crop Sci 8:1140–1146Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hati KM, Chaudhary RS, Mandal KG, Bandyopadhyay KK, Singh RK, Sinha NK, Mohanty M, Somasundaram J, Saha R (2015) Effects of tillage, residue and fertilizer nitrogen on crop yields, and soil physical properties under soybean–wheat rotation in vertisols of Central India. Agric Res 4:48–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Karunakaran V, Behera UK (2016) Tillage and residue management for improving productivity and resource-use efficiency in soybean (Glycine max)–wheat (Triticum aestivum) cropping system. Expt Agric 52:617–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Siczek A, Frac M (2012) Soil microbial activity as influenced by compaction and straw mulching. Int Agrophys 26:65–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Alvarez R, Steinbach HS (2009) A review of the effects of tillage systems on some soil physical properties, water content, nitrate availability and crops yield in the Argentine Pampas. Soil Till Res 104:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Berrocal-Ibarra S, Ortiz-Cereceres J, Pena-Valdivia CB (2002) Yield components, harvest index and leaf area efficiency of a sample of a wild population and a domesticated variant of the common bean Phaseolus vulgaris. South Afr J Bot 68:205–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Babujia LC, Hungria M, Franchini JC, Brookes PC (2010) Microbial biomass and activity at various soil depths in a Brazilian oxisol after two decades of no-tillage and conventional tillage. Soil Biol Biochem 42:2174–2181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sabo M, Jug D, Jug I (2007) Effect of reduced tillage on quality traits of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Acta Agron Hung 55:83–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Behera UK, Sharma AR, Pandey HN (2007) Sustaining productivity of wheat–soybean cropping system through integrated nutrient management practices on the vertisols of Central India. Plant Soil 297:185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harpreet Kaur Virk
    • 1
  • Guriqbal Singh
    • 1
  • Poonam Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.Pulses Section, Department of Plant Breeding & GeneticsPunjab Agricultural UniversityLudhianaIndia

Personalised recommendations