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Effect of nitrogen application and Rhizobium inoculation on the yield and nutrient uptake in lucerne (Medicago sativa).

INTRODUCTION

The yield of this widely grown crop, lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), is too below the potential yield in Turkey. Therefore, it is important to increase the yield and nutritious quality of lucerne to enhance the animal production. One of the effective ways in the yield increase to appropriately supply the nutrients to the plants. Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients. The main ways of the nitrogen application into soil are the mineral nitrogen fertilizer or Rhizobium inoculation of seeds or soil in order to obtain biological fixation of nitrogen.

Biological nitrogen fixation is an important nitrogen source due to the fact that it requires less energy and causes less environmental pollution. Therefore, it is essential to establish and utilize the relation between the Rhizobium and the legumes in the production of these crops. In this way, up to 216 kg nitrogen/ha might be fixed in lucerne (Larue and Patterson 1981). It has been recognized that microorganisms have very important roles in soil fertility and plant nutrients (Marschner 1995). Moreover, legumes uptake more nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil after being inoculated by specific Rhizobium bacterium and Mycorrhiza fungus (Tufenkci et al. 2000).

The soil of the region where the study was conducted has low nitrogen and phosphorus content and their availabilities are low due to the various soil and other environmental factors. Therefore, it was aimed to determine the effects of nitrogen fertilizer and Rhizobium inoculation on the yield and nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content in lucerne.

The experiment was conducted in the fields of in Van, Turkey, where legumes have not be grown for at least 10 years, in 2002 and 2003 using cv. 'Kayseri', a well-adapted lucerne cultivar to the region. Seeds were inoculated with a mixture of nodule-forming strains of Rhizobium meliloti, specific to lucerne provided by the Soil and Fertilizer Research Institute, Ankara.

In 2002 and 2003, the precipitation values throughout the season were 341.8 mm and 358.0 mm respectively, and below the long-term average of 380.0 mm. The average temperature in both years was lower than the long-term average. Also precipitation and average temperature in the first year of the trial were less than those of the second year.

The soil of the experimental area was sandy-clay-loam in texture, slightly alkaline (pH 7.6) in reaction, low in organic matter (%1.01) and available phosphorus (5.32 ppm) and sufficient in available potassium (295 ppm).

The study was conducted in split-plot design with 3 replications. In order to eliminate the contamination, main plots were inoculated with Rhizobium and nitrogen doses (0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 kg/ha) as ammonium sulphate were randomly applied to the subplots before sowing. Plot size was 4 m x 3 m. All plots were fertilized with a basal dose (60 kg [p.sub.2] [O.sub.5]/ha) of triple super phosphate fertilizer. In the first year (2001) of experiment only 1 harvest was carried out, therefore yields and other parameters were not evaluated. In 2002 and 2003, 3 cuttings have been done. Weeds were controlled mechanically two times and plants irrigated five times by furrow surface irrigation. In the study, yield and yield components have been classified as plant height, fresh forage and hay yield. In each cutting, two outer rows for each plots and 50 cm from each end of the plots were left as borders and the middle 3 meters of the central rows were harvested. In addition to these criteria, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content of plants were determined using the method proposed by Kacar (1994).

The influence of treatments on the lucerne and differences among treatments were analysed using analysis of variance procedures for split-plot design in randomised blocks in SAS (1998) by using PROC GLM.

Nitrogen application had significant effect on the plant height, the fresh forage and hay yields, and the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content of the plants in both years. There was linear increase in the plant height, nitrogen content of plant, the fresh forage and hay yields up to 120 kg N/ha application (Table 1 and 2). Phosphorus and potassium content of the plants increased up to 90 kg N/ha, and then decreased at 120 kg N/ha. Increases in these parameters by the application of nitrogen may be due to the fact that plant growth is stimulated by nitrogen supply. However, nitrogen application above a threshold amount may cause decrease in these parameters. Because the soil of the region is poor for nitrogen and organic matter, plants in this experiment also reacted positively to higher levels of nitrogen (Tan and Serin 1995). These findings are close conformity to the findings of Erman (1998).

Inoculation had not significantly affected any of the parameters measured as the soil contained a sufficient and efficient native rhizobial population during both seasons (Table 1 and 2). Initially, rich status of soil with respect to Rhizobium might be the reason for this ineffectiveness of the culture on all parameters investigated in 2002 and 2003. There are decreases in the competition strength of inoculated Rhizobium bacteria with the native ones. Therefore, positive effects of the inoculation cannot be observed. Similar effects of inoculation were observed by Goktan and Madanoglu (1975) and Erman (1998). However, in contrast, Kaya et al. (2002) determined that inoculation along with nitrogen fertilizer had significant increases in the growth parameters in several legume crops. The interaction effects of inoculation and nitrogen on the parameters measured were not significant during both seasons. Thus application of N up to 120 kg/ha significantly increased the yield and nutritive content of lucerne under the given conditions of the trials.

REFERENCES

(1.) Erman, M. 1998. Effect of different levels of nitrogen and Rhizobium inoculation on yield and yield components in some winter lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) cultivars under Van ecological conditions. PhD thesis, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey.

(2.) Goktan, D. and Madanoglu, K. 1975. Effect of inoculation on the yield and nitrogen content of plant in lucerne. Annual Report of Soil and Fertilizer Research Institute of Ankara, No: 61. Ankara, Turkey.

(3.) Kacar, B. 1994. Chemical Analysis of Plant and Soil. III. Soil Analysis. University of Ankara, Faculty of Agriculture, Pub. No: 3, Ankara, Turkey.

(4.) Kaya, M. D. , Ciftci, C. Y. and Kaya, M. 2002. Effect of inoculation and nitrogen on the yield and yield components in green pea (Pisum sativum L.). Journal of Agricultural Sciences of Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture, 8 : 300-305.

(5.) Larue, T. A. and Patterson, T. G. 1981. How much nitrogen to legumes fix. Advences in Agronomy, 34 : 15-38.

(6.) Marschner, H. 1995. Mycorrhizas. In Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, Academic Press, : p. 566-595.

(7.) SAS, 1998. Statistical Analysis Software, Version 6.12. SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA.

(8.) Tan, M. and Serin, Y. 1995. Effect of inoculation and nitrogen on the hay, seed, stem, raw protein yield, raw protein rate and nodule number in vetch (Vicia sativa L.) under irrigated conditions of Erzurum. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 19:137144.

(9.) Tufenkci, S., Demir, S. and Erdal, I. 2000. Effect of Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM), nitrogen and phosphorus on the nitrogen and phosphorus content of plant in chickpea. Journal of Agricultural Sciences of Yuzuncu Yil University Faculty of Agriculture, 10: 19-23.

S. TUFENKCI [1], M. ERMAN [2] and F. SONMEZ [3] Yuzuncu Yil University, Faculty of Agriculture, Van, Turkey 65080

[1] Associate Professor, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, 65100 Van/TUKEY

[2] Associate Professor, Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, 65100 Van/TUKEY

[3] Research Assistant, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, 65100 Van/TUKEY
Table 1: Effect of inoculation and nitrogen on the plant height, fresh
forage and hay yield.

Treatment Plant height (cm)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 47 [+ or -] 0.60 e 66 [+ or -] 1.10 a
30 50 [+ or -] 0.60 d 70 [+ or -] 0.26 b
60 53 [+ or -] 0.42 c 73 [+ or -] 0.56 c
90 57 [+ or -] 0.42 b 76 [+ or -] 0.95 d
120 59 [+ or -] 0.44 a 79 [+ or -] 0.85 e
CD (P=0.05) 1.39 1.61
Inoculation
With 54 [+ or -] 1.18 ns 74 [+ or -] 1.17 ns
Without 53 [+ or -] 1.21 71 [+ or -] 1.30
CD (P=0.05) 1.74 2.73
CV (%) 8.6 6.7

Treatment Fresh forage yield (kg/ha)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 13460 [+ or -] 271.6 e 15240 [+ or -] 408.3 d
30 15400 [+ or -] 302.6 d 16367 [+ or -] 243.4 c
60 15867 [+ or -] 425.4 c 16800 [+ or -] 350.8 bc
90 16340 [+ or -] 558.2 b 17347 [+ or -] 401.0 ab
120 16933 [+ or -] 459.6 a 17553 [+ or -] 404.2 a
CD (P=0.05) 439.7 677.7 286.6
Inoculation
With 16352 [+ or -] 396.3 ns 17299 [+ or -] 277.0 ns
Without 14848 [+ or -] 294.5 16024 [+ or -] 241.4
CD (P=0.05) 2531.1 1418.8
CV (%) 9.8 7.0

Treatment Hay yield (kg/ha)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 3212 [+ or -] 149.3 c 3810 [+ or -] 102 d
30 3850 [+ or -] 75.5 b 4092 [+ or -] 60.8 c
60 3965 [+ or -] 106.5 ab 4200 [+ or -] 87.7 bc
90 4085 [+ or -] 139.5 ab 4352 [+ or -] 98.2 ab
120 4233 [+ or -] 114.9 a 4388 [+ or -] 101.0 a
CD (P=0.05) 286.6 170.2
Inoculation
With 4026 [+ or -] 138.2 ns 4325 [+ or -] 69.3 ns
Without 3712 [+ or -] 73.6 4012 [+ or -] 62.2
CD (P=0.05) 500.0 378.4
CV (%) 11.6 7.1

* Values are means [+ or -] standard error

** ns: Means in a column are not significantly different (Duncan's
multiple range tests, < 0.05)

*** Means in a column followed by the same letter are not significantly
different (Duncan's multiple range tests, < 0.05)

Table 2: Effect of nitrogen and inoculation on the nitrogen, phosphorus
and potassium content of plants

Treatment Nitrogen content (%)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 2.521 [+ or -] 0.002 e 2.873 [+ or -] 0.027 d
30 2.841 [+ or -] 0.002 d 3.191 [+ or -] 0.047 c
60 3.083 [+ or -] 0.166 c 3.227 [+ or -] 0.028 c
90 3.666 [+ or -] 0.002 b 3.321 [+ or -] 0.017 b
120 3.951 [+ or -] 0.001 a 3.521 [+ or -] 0.041 a
CD (P=0.05) 0.222 0.085
Inoculation
With 3.250 [+ or -] 0.139 ns 3.259 [+ or -] 0.060 ns
Without 3.175 [+ or -] 0.154 3.195 [+ or -] 0.057
CD (P=0.05) 0.284 0.109
CV (%) 17.4 7.0

Treatment Phosphorus content (%)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 0.235 [+ or -] 0.011 d 0.165 [+ or -] 0.008 e
30 0.325 [+ or -] 0.004 d 0.238 [+ or -] 0.019 c
60 0.387 [+ or -] 0.005 c 0.273 [+ or -] 0.020 b
90 0.460 [+ or -] 0.006 b 0.343 [+ or -] 0.021 a
120 0.255 [+ or -] 0.004 a 0.191 [+ or -] 0.014 d
CD (P=0.05) 0.02 0.026
Inoculation
With 0.334 [+ or -] 0.023 ns 0.258 [+ or -] 0.019 ns
Without 0.330 [+ or -] 0.021 0.226 [+ or -] 0.019
CD (P=0.05) 0.034 0.147
CV (%) 25.9 31.1

Treatment Potassium content (%)
 2002 2003

Nitrogen (kg/ha)
0 3.640 [+ or -] 0.035 d 2.275 [+ or -] 0.041 c
30 3.905 [+ or -] 0.049 d 2.425 [+ or -] 0.035 b
60 4.360 [+ or -] 0.045 c 2.495 [+ or -] 0.024 ab
90 4.670 [+ or -] 0.025 b 2.572 [+ or -] 0.029 a
120 3.712 [+ or -] 0.061 a 2.320 [+ or -] 0.030 c
CD (P=0.05) 0.099 0.104
Inoculation
With 4.070 [+ or -] 0.109 ns 2.435 [+ or -] 0.032 ns
Without 4.044 [+ or -] 0.108 2.399 [+ or -] 0.036
CD (P=0.05) 0.133 0.16
CV (%) 10.2 5.5

* Values are means [+ or -] standard error

** ns: Means in a column are not significantly different (Duncan's
multiple range tests, < 0.05)

*** Means in a column followed by the same letter are not
significantly different (Duncan's multiple range tests, < 0.05)
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Author:Tufenkci, S.; Erman, M.; Sonmez, F.
Publication:Bulletin of Pure & Applied Sciences-Botany
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:2063
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