Evaluation of cover-cropping managements on productivity and N-utilization efficiency of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), under different nitrogen fertilization rates and soil types
Biomass productivity, nitrogen recovery fraction and nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE) of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) cultivar Tainung 2 were tested, under three Lens culinaries treatments (incorporated, harvested before the sowing of the energy crop and mono-cropping) and four nitrogen dressings (0, 50, 100 and 150 kg ha(-1)), in two field experiments carried out on a fertile, clayey to loamy soil, and on a sandy soil of moderate fertility, in central Greece, over the period 2007-2009. The obtained results showed a positive response in L. culinaries cover cropping on kenaf total yield, on both experimental sites. Total dry biomass fluctuated from 16.07 to 21.46 t ha(-1) for incorporated plots and from 13.63 to 16.55 t ha(-1) for control treatments (relied only on applications of N-fertilization) for sandy soil, and from 14.98 to 19.28 t ha(-1) in case of legume incorporation and from 12.34 to 16.69 t ha(-1) for control plots, for clayey soil, respectively. The evaluated NUE was 76 kg kg(-1), for sandy soil, and 72 kg kg(-1), for clay soil. The recovery fraction escalated from 41% in control plots to 70% in plots with previous L culinaries cultivation for sandy soil, while for clayey soil an increase of 20% was recorded, indicating a prominent effect of legume cover-cropping management. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.