Nitrogen fixation by three tropical forage legumes and the utilization of legume-fixed nitrogen by their associated grasses

Whitney, A.S.

Dissertation Abstracts B, The Sciences and Engineering 27(6): 1688


ISSN/ISBN: 0420-073X
Accession: 014577253

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Desmodium intortum, D. canum and Centrosema pubescens were grown alone and in combination with Pennisetum purpureum and Digitaria decumbens on volcanic soil. D. intortum yielded about 17, 000 lb DM/ac and 300 lb N/ac per year, and transferred small but significant amounts of N to the grasses. D. canum gave low yields and reduced the yield of N in grasses grown with it. C. pubescens in pure stand gave intermediate DM yields but yielded as much N as D. intortum; when grown with grass its yields of DM and N were halved, and N transfer to the grass occurred only after 6 months. Total N fixation during the trial was 340 lb/ac for D. intortum, 82 lb/ac for D. canum and 156 lb/ac for C. pubescens; transfer of N to grass was about 5% for D. intortum and up to 11% for C. pubescens. Solution-culture trials indicated that significant transfer of N could occur via the roots, particularly after defoliation. Leaf fall could supply over 1.2 lb N/ac per week.