Towards Sustainable, Self-Supporting Agriculture: Biological Nitrogen Factories as a Key for Future Cropping Systems

Chapter

Abstract

The LOME concept of self-sufficient agricultural systems encompasses legumes supplying nitrogen and proteins, oil-seed crops producing fuel, and methanization of biomass producing renewable energy. The benefits of introducing a legume into a crop rotation have been widely discussed but there has been no comparison of long-term yield trends and few long-term experiments on the interaction between biological and mineral sources of nitrogen (N).

During five 6-year cycles of a long-term experiment comparing cropping systems with and without lucerne over 2 years followed by four identical crops, the 2 years of lucerne produced 689 kgN as above-ground biomass and, also, had a big residual effect. The four subsequent crops after the lucerne exported a further 202 kgN and, in four rotations out of five, wheat grown in the first and third years after lucerne without mineral N fertilizer achieved more than 80 % of the maximum wheat yields under non-N limited conditions. There is a negative interaction on N uptake from different N sources. These results suggest that a self-sufficient cropping system based on biological N fixation can be a real alternative to conventional intensive systems.

Keywords

Winter Wheat Anaerobic Digestion Crop Residue Green Manure Residual Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This chapter is dedicated to Dr Louis Gachon (1926–1999), Director of INRA-Agricultural Research Station at Clermont-Ferrand and Chief of Agronomy of INRA-France who, in 1968, transformed the field experiment initiated by Dr D Collier in 1948 to this long-term experiment. Special thanks to INRA technical staff who contributed to the project by their enthusiastic assistance throughout the trial over 30 years.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and AgronomyINRA UR-AgrononieClermont-FerrandFrance

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