Evidence of improved water uptake from subsoil by spring wheat following lucerne in a temperate humid climate.

Gaiser, T., Perkons, U., Kuper, P. M., Puschmann, D. U., Peth, S., Kautz, T., Pfeifer, J., Ewert, F., Horn, Rainer and Kopke, U. (2012) Evidence of improved water uptake from subsoil by spring wheat following lucerne in a temperate humid climate. Field Crops Research, 126 . pp. 56-62.

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Abstract

Dry spells during the summer period affecting water uptake and plant growth in central Europe may occur more frequently in the future due to climate change. Improving the ability of crops to take up water from deeper soil layers is a potential strategy to secure water supply. The objective of this paper is to report on the effect of different preceding fodder crops on root growth and water uptake of spring wheat from the subsoil. Water extraction and root length density during grain filling of spring wheat were observed between anthesis and maturity in six different soil depths (0-15, 15-45, 45-60, 60-75, 75-90 and 90-105 cm) and with four different preceding crops: 1 year of fescue (Fes1Y), 2 years of chicory (Chi2Y), 2 years of lucerne (Luc2Y) and 3 years of chicory (Chi3Y). While there was no difference in total water extraction by wheat in the four crop sequences, water extraction from the deepest layer (90-105 cm) was significantly higher after 2 years of lucerne (Luc2Y). This was consistent with the root length densities measured in the 90-105 layer, which were 82,89 and 112% higher in Luc2Y as compared to Fes1Y, Chi2Y and Chi3Y, respectively. Results suggest that lucerne as preceding crop supports deeper rooting and higher rooting density of following spring wheat enhancing access to water in deeper soil layers in response to prolonged dry spells. Effects facilitating root penetration like improved soil structure and higher nitrogen availability after lucerne are discussed. We conclude that suitable crop rotations with lucerne might be a cost-effective adaptation measure to overcome drought stress. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Univ Bonn, Inst Crop Sci & Resource Conservat, D-53115 Bonn, Germany. Univ Bonn, Inst Organ Agr, D-53115 Bonn, Germany. Univ Kiel, Inst Plant Nutr & Soil Sci, D-2300 Kiel, Germany. Res Ctr Julich, Inst Bio & Geosci, Julich, Germany. Gaiser, T (reprint author), Univ Bonn, Inst Crop Sci & Resource Conservat, D-53115 Bonn, Germany. tgaiser@uni-bonn.de
Keywords: Dry spells Rooting density Water uptake Wheat Crop sequence semiarid loess plateau soil-water crop yield alfalfa china productivity drought roots sequences patterns
Research affiliation: ?? agrar ??
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
ISSN: 0378-4290
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 10:08
Last Modified: 14 May 2014 10:08
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/23984

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