Breeding of temperate forage grasses is aimed at improving the economic and environmental sustainability of production from cattle and sheep. The primary objective is to ensure that forage can be the main source of feed for ruminants. This requires consistent production of herbage with a high feeding value, usually under nitrogen-limiting conditions. The most important traits affecting the feeding value of herbage are in vitro dry matter digestibility (DMD), the ratios of crude protein, water-soluble carbohydrate and fibre, and the concentration of alkaloid toxins. Improvements in these primary quality traits must be combined with good plant persistency, adequate tolerance to a range of environmental stresses, adequate resistance to a large number of different pathogens and invertebrate pests, and adequate seed yield. Forage grasses also have considerable potential to produce material for refining, to provide protein extracts for feeding to monogastric animals and carbohydrate for fermentation into fuel or into feedstocks for other industries.
Compared with growth at 20/15 degreesC (day/night), exposure of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plants to moderately high temperature (30/25 degreesC) significantly decreased grain weight through shortening the duration of grain filling, combined with small (or no) positive increases in the rate of grain filling. Several mathematical models of grain filling were assessed for their suitability as means of analysing these effects of temperature. The ordinary logistic model was found to be the most appropriate model and was used for the analysis of grain filling responses in four cultivars differing in their responses. Genotypic variation in response to temperature was observed for both rate and duration of grain filling, but the variation for the duration of grain filling among cultivars was small at the higher temperature. Significant correlation was found between single grain weight with the rate, but not with the duration, of grain filling at high temperature, which indicated an important role for synthetic processes involved in grain filling in the temperature sensitivity of wheat cultivars. As they are independent traits, both rate and duration are required selection criteria for the improvement of heat tolerance. Responses of one attribute estimated from the logistic model, the inflection point of the course of grain filling, may give insight into a temperature response that is distinguishable from that associated with the duration of grain filling. The inflection point appears to be worth including as a criterion in selecting for high temperature tolerance in wheat.
Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) was used for the analysis of soil samples for silt, sand, clay, calcium (Ca), potassium (K), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu) and iron (Fe). A total of 332 samples of different soils from Uruguay (South America) were used. The samples were scanned in a NIRS 6500 (NIRSystems, Silver Spring, MD, USA) in reflectance. Cross validation was applied to avoid overfitting of the models. The coefficient of determination in calibration (R-cal(2)) and the standard errors in cross validation (SECV) were 0.80 (SECV : 6.8), 0.84 (SECV : 6.0),0.90 (SECV : 3.6) in per cent for sand, silt and clay respectively. For both macro and microelements the R-cal(2) and SECV were 0.80 (SECV: 0.1), 0.95 (SECV: 2.9),0.90 (SECV 0.8), for K, Ca, Mg in g/kg respectively, and 0.86 (SECV: 0.82) and 0.92 (SECV : 25.5) for Cu and Fe in mg/kg. It was concluded that NIRS has a great potential as an analytical method for soil routine analysis due to the speed and low cost of analysis.
An indoor experiment involving 10 rumen-cannulated Romney sheep was conducted in May and June 1998 at AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North, New Zealand, under restricted feeding conditions. in order to test the hypothesis that animal factors, in particular rumen fractional outflow rate (FOR) and rumen volume, have an influence on the between-sheep variation in methane (CH4) emission. Sheep were fed 2-hourly on chaffed lucerne hay. Following an acclimatization period of 21 days, the experiment lasted 16 days. Energy and nitrogen (N) balances were measured on days 1-6. Cr-EDTA marker was continuously infused into the rumen from day 9 to 16, and rumen contents emptied and sampled on days 13 and 16. Particulate and fluid FOR were estimated using feed lignin and Cr-EDTA, respectively. Daily CH, production was measured by the sulphur hexafluoride tracer technique on days 2, 5, 6, 12 and 15 of the experiment. CH4 production (g/day) was positively correlated with the pool size of organic matter (OM) in the rumen (OM pool, g) (r = 0.84, P = 0.002), OM intake (OMI, g/day) (r = 0.67, P = 0.04), and the rumen fill (g. wet digesta) (r = 0.76, P = 0.01). Multiple regression analysis showed that CH4 production was best predicted (R-2 = 0.88) as a function of OM pool and the molar % of butyrate; however, OM pool alone accounted for a large proportion (R-2 = 0.71) of the variation in CH4 production. CH4 yield (% gross energy intake, % GEI) was negatively correlated with the particulate FOR (%/h) ( r= -0.75, P = 0.01) and buffering capacity of rumen fluid (mmol HCl) (r = -0.72, P = 0.02) but positively correlated with the digestibility of cellulose (r = 0.66, P = 0.04). Multiple regression analysis showed that CH, yield was best predicted as a function of particulate FOR, OMI (g/kg liveweight(0.75)) and the molar % of butyrate (R-2 = 0.88). Particulate FOR alone explained a large proportion (R-2 = 0.57) of the variation in CH4 Yield. Particulate FOR was negatively correlated with rumen fill (r = -0.69, P = 0.03) and digestibility of cellulose (r = -0.65, P = 0.04). These results suggest that sheep with lower rumen particulate FOR (i.e. longer rumen retention times) had larger rumen fills and higher fibre digestibilities and CH4 yields. If rumen particulate FOR is to be used as a tool for CH4 mitigation, the repeatability of its relationship to CH4 emission must be assessed, preferably under grazing conditions.
Understanding and predicting small-grain cereal development is becoming increasingly important in enhancing management practices. Recent efforts to improve phenology submodels in crop simulations have focused on incorporating developmental responses to water stress and interpreting and understanding thermal time. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate data from three experiments to (a) determine the qualitative and quantitative response of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) to water stress and (b) ascertain where in space to measure temperature, to provide information required to improve phenological submodels. The first experiment tested the phenological responses of 12 winter wheat cultivars to water stress for two seasons at two sites. The second experiment tested the timing of water stress on spring barley phenological responses for 2 years. In a third experiment, soil near the shoot apex of field-grown spring wheat was heated to 3 degreesC above ambient soil temperature for three planting dates in each of 2 years, to test whether it is better to use soil or air temperature in calculating thermal time. The general response of wheat and barley to water stress was to reach growth stages earlier (i.e. to hasten development). The most significant response was for the grain filling period. Water stress had little effect on jointing and flag leaf complete/booting growth stages. Thermal time to jointing was highly variable across locations. However, thermal time to subsequent growth stages was very consistent both within and across locations. The winter wheat cultivars tested followed this general response across site-years, but inconsistencies were found, suggesting a complicated genotype by environment (G x E) interaction that makes improving phenology submodels for all cultivars difficult. The G x E interaction was most prominent for anthesis (A) and maturity (M) growth stages. Results of heating the soil at the shoot apex depth were completely unexpected: heating the soil did not speed spring wheat phenological development. These results, and others cited, suggest caution in allocating effort and resources to measuring or estimating soil temperature rather than relying on readily available air temperature as a means of universally improving phenology submodels. These results help quantify the response of wheat to water stress and thermal time for improving crop simulation models and management.
The influence of dairy cattle feed composition oil the manure composition and on the dynamics and plant availability of cattle slurry N was studied, Dairy cows were fed seven different forages either with or without supplemental concentrates. The concentration of N in faeces dry matter varied from 18 to 38 g/kg dry matter and increased with increasing digestibility of the feed. Cattle slurries consisting of a mixture of 0(.)5 faecal N and 0(.)5 urinary N were stored according to common agricultural practice in Northern Europe. The mineralization of faecal N during slurry storage was very variable (0(.)09-0(.)50). The plant availability of N in the slurries originating from cattle fed with known diets was tested in small, framed field plots with spring barley, under conditions with minimal N losses. The nitrogen uptake in barley was determined and the mineral fertilizer equivalent (MFE) of slurry N was calculated. The net release of mineral N and CO2 from the slurries in soil was also measured in a parallel incubation study. The MFE of cattle slurry N varied from 53 to 75 %. After correcting for the measured urine-N/faeces-N ratio and expected ammonia emission, the MFE varied from 51 to 78 %. The plant availability and net release of cattle slurry N were influenced by forage type and feeding level. The MFE was negatively correlated with the concentration of crude fibre and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) in the diet, and positively correlated with the dietary protein content. The net release of CO., from the slurries after 12 weeks in soil was significantly influenced by the concentration of crude fibre in the diet. The plant availability of slurry N was significantly correlated with the ammonium content (R-2 =0(.)53) and negatively correlated with the slurry C:N ratio (R-2=0(.)67) and the dry matter: N ratio (R-2 =0(.)58). Residual slurry N left in the soil after harvest of the first crop varied from 0(.)25 to 0(.)47 of total slurry N. It is concluded that the fibre and the protein content of cattle diets have a significant influence on the plant availability of cattle slurry N and on the amount of residual slurry N remaining in the soil after the first growing season.
The present paper reports on three sets of experiments exploring the persistence of seeds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus). The first, where known numbers of seeds were buried in September 1991 in two field experiments, demonstrated substantial initial losses of seeds, such that only 0.2 and 3.8% of seeds were still present after 4 months. In these experiments, which were not disturbed by mechanical cultivation, there was little evidence of further decline over the following 13 months. In the second of the two experiments, seeds were then left undisturbed for a further 136 months. A mean of 1.8% of seeds were still present after this period, providing further confirmation of the lack of decline in seed numbers in these undisturbed conditions. In the second pair of experiments, known numbers of seeds of three rape cultivars were broadcast onto plots and then either ploughed into the soil immediately after the start of the experiments, or were exposed to weekly shallow tine cultivation followed by ploughing after 4 weeks. The former created a larger seedbank than the latter. The experiments were then ploughed, annually (Expt 1) or at less frequent intervals (Expt 2); appreciable numbers of seeds survived for 65 months in both. Calculations based on exponential decline curves indicated that 95% seed loss would take 15-39 months, depending on the site, cultivar and initial post-harvest stubble treatment. The third part of the paper is based on more detailed studies of persistence of seeds of six cultivars in Petri dishes and buried in 25 cm, pots. This work confirmed that cultivars differed in their persistence, as Apex was confirmed as highly persistent, whereas Rebel was short-lived. There were inconsistencies in the response of cultivar Synergy between the Petri-dish and pot experiment, which need further study. This experiment also reinforced the conclusion of the initial field experiments that little seed loss occurs in the absence of cultivations. Appreciable numbers of rape seeds will persist up to 4 years, in normal cropping conditions and in the absence of cultivation one experiment has confirmed persistence for over 11 years.
Field experiments were conducted over 3 years to assess the effect of a triazole fungicide programme, and additions of strobilurin fungicides to it, on nitrogen uptake, accumulation and partitioning in a range of winter wheat cultivars. Commensurate with delayed senescence, fungicide programmes, particularly when including strobilurins, improved grain yield through improvements in both crop biomass and harvest index, although the relationship with green area duration of the flag leaf (GFLAD) depended on year and in some cases, cultivar. In all years fungicide treatments significantly increased the amount of nitrogen in the above-ground biomass, the amount of nitrogen in the grain and the nitrogen harvest index. All these effects could be linearly related to the fungicide effect on GFLAD. These relationships occasionally interacted with cultivar but there was no evidence that fungicide mode of action affected the relationship between GFLAD and yield of nitrogen in the grain. Fungicide treatments significantly reduced the amount of soil mineral N at harvest and when severe disease had been controlled, the net remobilization of N from the vegetation to the grain after anthesis. Fungicide maintained the filling of grain with both dry matter and nitrogen. The proportionate accumulation of nitrogen in the grain was later than that of dry matter and this difference was greater when fungicide had been applied. Effects of fungicide on grain protein concentration and its relationship with GFLAD were inconsistent over year and cultivar. There were several instances where grain protein concentration was unaffected despite large (1(.)5 t/ha) increases in grain yield following fungicide use. Dilution of grain protein concentration following fungicide use, when it did occur, was small compared with what would be predicted by adoption of other yield increasing techniques such as the selection of high yielding cultivars (based on currently available cultivars) or by growing wheat in favourable climates.
The risk of drought is high in the Sudan savannah zone of West and Central Africa because rainfall in this area is unpredictable in quantity and distribution. Thus, improved maize genotypes tolerant to drought Could stabilize maize grain yield in this zone, where recurrent drought threatens grain production. Six maize genotypes., two each of hybrids, open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and landraces, were evaluated for tolerance to terminal water deficit before flowering. Water deficit significantly reduced growth, grain yield and yield components of the maize genotypes. Significant differences were observed among genotypes for all the traits measured. One hybrid, 9011-30, and two improved OPVs, STR-EV-IWD and IYFD-C0, that showed tolerance to water stress recorded higher grain yield, and accumulated and partitioned more assimilates to the grain than the drought-susceptible genotypes. Also the drought-tolerant genotypes, 9011-30, STR-EV-IWD and IYFD-C0 had more ears/plant and greater numbers of kernels/ear. These genotypes could serve as Sources of drought tolerance for the development and improvement of new drought-tolerant maize genotypes.
Based on the knowledge that alpaca (Lama pacos) have a lower fractional outflow rate of feed particles (particulate FOR) from their forestomach than sheep (San Martin 1987), the current study measured methane (CH4) production and other digestion parameters in these species in three successive experiments (1, 2 and 3): Experiment 1, lucerne hay fed indoors; Experiment 2, grazed on perennial ryegrass/white clover pasture (PRG/WC); and Experiment 3, grazed on birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatits) pasture (Lotus). Six male alpaca and six castrated Romney sheep were simultaneously and successively fed on the forages either ad libitium or at generous herbage allowances (grazing). CH4 production (g/day) (using the sulphur hexafluoride tracer technique), voluntary feed intake (VFI), diet quality, and protozoa counts and volatile fatty acid concentrations in samples of forestomach contents were determined. In addition, feed digestibility, energy and nitrogen (N) balances and microbial N supply from the forestomach (using purine derivatives excretion) were measured in Experiment 1. Diets selected by alpaca were of lower quality than those selected by sheep, and the voluntary gross energy intakes (GEI, MJ) per kg of liveweight(0.75) were consistently lower (P0.05) in their CH4 yields (% GEI) when fed on lucerne hay (5.1 v. 4.7), but alpaca had a higher CH4 yield when fed on PRG/WC (9.4 v. 7.5, P0.05) in diet N partition or microbial N yield, but alpaca had higher (P<0.05) neutral detergent fibre digestibility (0.478 v. 0.461) and lower (P<0.01) urinary energy losses (5.2 v. 5.8 % GEI) than sheep. It is suggested that differences between these species in forestomach particulate FOR might have been the underlying physiological mechanism responsible for the differences in CH4 yield, although the between-species differences in VFI and diet quality also had a major effect on it.
Four low and four high methane (CH4) emitters were selected from a flock of 20 Romney sheep on the basis of CH4 production rates per unit of intake, measured at grazing using the sulphur hexafluoride (SF,) tracer technique. Methane emissions from these sheep were monitored at grazing for four periods (P): October, November, January and February 1999/2000. All measurements were carried out on perennial ryegrass/white clover pasture under generous herbage allowance, and the sheep were maintained on similar pastures during non-measurement periods. The tracer technique was used for all the CH4 measurements and feed DM intake was calculated from total faecal collection and estimated DM digestibility. Data for liveweight (LW), gross energy intake (GEI) and CH4 emission were analysed using split-plot analysis of variance. In addition, a between-period rank order correlation analysis was carried out for CH4 emission data. Low CH4 emitters were heavier (P < 0.05) than the high emitters in all the periods, but they did not differ (P < 0.05) in their gross energy intakes (GEL MJ/kg LW0.75). Low and high CH4 emitters consistently maintained their initial rankings in CH4 yield (% GEI) throughout the subsequent periods and the correlation analysis of rank order for CH4 yield showed strong between-period correlation coefficients, although this was weaker in the last period. It is suggested that feeding conditions that maximize feed intake (e.g. generous allowance of good quality pasture under grazing) favour the expression and persistence of between-sheep differences in CH4 yield.
Most current biological problems in agriculture occur at the higher levels of organization: populations. communities and ecosystems. These are the levels addressed by the science of ecology rather than other biological sciences. Therefore ecology will by necessity become the central science of agriculture. Agricultural production will be seen as a form of applied ecology or ecological engineering. This change in perspective has major implications for agricultural research. It brings the discussion of the assumptions of a research programme into the open and forces researchers to prioritize among potentially conflicting objectives. It sees agricultural strategies in terms of trade-offs, rather than improvements, and it suggests that agricultural research needs to be more bold and ambitious if it is to solve the most important problems facing us in the new century.
A field experiment lasting 9 years was initiated in 1987 to study the effect of integrated nutrient management involving incorporation of wheat straw (WS) or farmyard manure (FYM) alone or in combination with inorganic fertilizer on a fine loamy mixed hyperthermic udic Ustochrept. Soil physical properties and the productivity of a rice-lentil cropping sequence were examined in a dry land farming system. At the end of the ninth cropping season, addition of organic materials had increased organic carbon, aggregate stability, moisture retention capacity and infiltration rate of the surface soil while reducing the bulk density. Application of inorganic fertilizer alone decreased the stability of macro aggregates and moisture retention capacity but increased the bulk density values. Treatment effects on moisture retentivity were more pronounced in the higher (0(.)3-1(.)5 MPa) suction range. During the first six experimental years, sole application of inorganic fertilizers produced 10-17% higher grain yield of rice, compared to sole application of organic sources or combined organic and inorganic sources. Annual applications of wheat straw and farmyard manure gave higher grain yields of rice from the seventh year onwards. Grain yields of lentil were higher with organic sources either alone or combined with inorganic nutrients.
The outer surfaces of plant leaves and stems are covered with a waxy layer, a considerable fraction of which comprises n-alkanes which are not digested and, therefore, can be used as markers in animal nutrition studies. Most plant species have a characteristic pattern of n-alkane concentrations in their cuticular wax and this enables the diet composition to be estimated by comparison with the pattern of the n-alkanes in faeces. N-alkane recovery in faeces was determined in a digestibility trial involving three different diets given to four goats, six cows and five calves. The validity of using n-alkane markers to determine diet composition was examined in in vivo feeding trials with goats and cows. The recovery of the odd chain length n-alkanes increased linearly with n-alkane chain length, with no significant differences between treatments. Estimates of diet composition were affected by the faecal n-alkane recovery rate. N-alkanes in plant cuticular wax can be used as natural markers for estimating diet composition, but a recovery factor should be used to correct for incomplete recovery in faeces. More research is needed to extend the findings to wider ranges of diets, animals, environmental conditions and physiological and reproductive states.
Influences of cultivar and environment, i.e. cultivation year and fertilizer rate, on amount of protein groups and amount and size distribution of mono- and polymeric proteins, were investigated in four sets of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The cultivars were chosen in order to obtain a high range of variation in protein concentration and gluten strength. Environmental influences on protein concentration and gluten strength were investigated, as well as relations between variation in protein concentration and gluten strength and variation in protein groups and amount and size distribution of mono- and polymeric proteins. The results showed that cultivar and environmental influences giving rise to variation in protein concentration also gave rise to variation in most of the investigated protein components. Protein concentration was significantly positively correlated to the total amounts of glutenins and gliadins and amounts of most mono- and polymeric proteins. However, the correlation with the amount of gliadins and sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS)-soluble mono- and polymeric proteins were often higher than the correlation to the glutenins and the SDS-insoluble mono- and polymeric proteins. Cultivar influences giving rise to variation in gluten strength were found to influence the relation between SDS-soluble and -insoluble polymeric proteins, leading to a significant positive correlation between the gluten strength and the percentage of total unextractable polymeric protein (TUPP) in the total polymeric protein and large unextractable polymeric protein (LUPP) in the total large polymeric protein. Environmental variation in gluten strength was found to be significantly positively correlated to SDS-insoluble proteins and negatively correlated to SDS-soluble proteins. This also led to a significant positive correlation with the percentage of LUPP and/or TUPP.
Plant characters that determine stem and root lodging were measured on 15 winter wheat cultivars at three UK sites between 2000 and 2002. A model of lodging was used to estimate stem failure wind speeds (resistance to stem lodging) and anchorage failure wind speeds (resistance to root lodging). The degree and type of natural lodging was also recorded in the plots and this correlated well with the stem and anchorage failure wind speeds. Only a weak correlation (R-2=0-33) was observed between the stem and anchorage failure wind speeds for the 15 cultivars. This can be explained by the absence of genetic correlation between the plant characters that determine the stem and anchorage strength. There was a significant interaction between type of lodging (stem or root) and cultivar for failure wind speed (P<0.001). This showed that the difference between the resistances for root and stem lodging was not the same for all cultivars. Separate classifications for the stem and root lodging resistance of cultivars are developed that would allow the most appropriate crop management to reduce the risk of both types of lodging. Significant differences were found between cultivars for all lodging-related plant characters (P<0.05). These resulted in the cultivar range of the anchorage failure moment to be 110% of the overall mean. Stem failure moment, shoot and plant base bending moments had ranges of 37-49% of their overall means. Breeders should select for wide, deep root plates and wide stems with a high stem wall failure yield stress for the greatest improvement in lodging resistance.
As with any measurement procedure, the performance of a subjective classification procedure must be evaluated. Observers have to be trained and their performance has to be assessed, preferably on a regular basis, to guarantee sufficient consistency and accuracy of classification results. The current paper is a study of observer performance where observers were asked to classify the gait of cows from video recordings. Gait was classified in nine ordered categories (ranging from 1 = normal gait to 9 = severely abnormal gait) and also as a continuous fraction by putting a mark on a paper strip (the left end corresponding to 0 = normal gait and the right end to I = severely abnormal gait). The use of statistical models and methodology for analysis of these visual scores is demonstrated and discussed. Observers were assessed by comparing their classification results with the results of an expert. Models and methodology take proper account of typical features of the data, i.e. the fact that data are discrete scores or continuous scores with an upper and lower bound, the variance heterogeneity and non-linearity of model terms that arises from this, and the dependence between repeated classifications of videos of the same cow. Results of the analyses are summarized in simple tables and plots. These are useful tools to indicate possible flaws in judgement of an observer, that may be corrected by further training. When a high standard is developed, which usually takes the form of the opinion of one or more experts, this methodology can be applied prior to any experiment where responses are ordered subjective scores.
The degree to which grazers maintain the amount (organic matter intake) or the quality (organic matter digestibility) of their diet without adversely affecting the other component was addressed by investigating how sheep managed trade-offs between quantity and quality throughout the grazing season in an upland area of central France. Two groups of five dry ewes, grazing two plots of contrasting areas from April to the end of September 2000, were studied. On the smaller plot (1500 m(2)), the application of a high stocking rate (HSR) produced a resource of good quality but in low quantity; and on the larger plot (3000 m(2)), a low stocking rate (LSR) created a sward of low quality but in good quantity. In spring, in both conditions, the sheep maintained their intake of digestible organic matter (OM) at between 1000 and 1250 g/day. Both organic matter intake and digestibility remained high at both stocking rates. In summer, the intake of digestible OM decreased to between 750 and 1000 g/day. On HSR, this was mainly due to a decline of intake in relation to the decrease of intake rate and bite weight. On LSR a decrease in digestibility and to a lesser extent in intake was involved. At both stocking rates, the sheep maximized the digestibility of their diet by selecting the green laminae throughout the grazing season. In spring, the sheep modulated their daily grazing time to compensate the decrease in intake rate and maintained a high daily intake. In summer and autumn, the sheep failed to maintain their daily intake at the same level as previously observed. On both plots they modulated their daily grazing time to cover their needs (730 g/day), but they did not increase it further to maximize daily intake. This may be attributable to the costs involved in selecting (LSR) or taking (HSR) the best components from the sward.
A field experiment was initiated at the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal, India between 1994 and 1998 involving use of NPK fertilizers alone and in combination with green manure (Sesbania bispinosa) or farmyard manure (FYM) in a rice-wheat cropping sequence. An attempt was made to evaluate the effect of the substitution of inorganic fertilizers with organic manures on yields of grain and nutrients, economy and soil fertility during 1997-98 and 1998-99. Application of NPK and its combination with green manuring and FYM increased the rice yield significantly. Applying inorganic fertilizers resulted in similar nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in rice as compared with organic manures along with inorganic fertilizers, but NUE was increased in wheat by the residual effect of organic manures along with inorganic fertilizers. The responses of rice to the application of the full recommended amount of inorganic fertilizers (120 kg N, 26 kg P and 42 kg K/ha) and its combined use with green manure or 10 t/ha FYM and 150 % recommended amount (180 kg N, 39 kg P and 63 kg K/ha) were 2.98, 4.27, 4.10 and 3.54 t/ha, respectively. Further, with green manure or 10 t FYM/ha in combination with 50 % recommended amount, the mean rice yield (5.8 t/ha) was similar to the yield (5.5 t/ha) obtained from the 100 % NPK recommended treatment. Application of green manure or 10 t FYM/ha thus saved 60 kg N and 13 kg P/ha inorganic fertilizer in rice. The residual effect of green manure or FYM plus the full recommended fertilizer amount (120 kg N, 26 kg P and 42 kg K/ha) was significantly greater than that of the full recommended amount of fertilizer. Addition of green manure or FYM resulted in higher removal in crops, increase of soil N, P, K and organic C. and reduced soil pH. Application of the full recommended amount of fertilizer only maintained the N, P, and K status in soil. Higher profit was obtained when inorganic fertilizer was combined with organic manures.
The yield stability of intereropping systems is important in developing cropping systems that produce economic yields over a wide range of environments. Field studies were conducted during the 1997/98 and 1998/99 growing seasons at three locations in the forest and forest-savannah transition zones of Ghana to determine yield, land use efficiency and yield stability of cassava (Manihot esculenta), maize (Zea mays), soya bean (Glycine max) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) intercrop systems. The cropping systems consisted of a factorial combination of two cassava varieties: 'Gblemoduade' (an improved, highly branched variety) and 'Ankra' (a local variety with fewer branches) and three spatial arrangements. Cowpea rows were planted in the minor season into cassava as a successive crop to maize and soya bean after their harvest in the major season. Intercropping significantly reduced grain or tuber yield of maize, cassava 'Gblemoduade' and cassava 'Ankra' by 23-70%, 16-49% and 24-64%, respectively. Maize yield decreased with increased number of soya bean rows. 'Gblemoduade' out-yielded 'Ankra' by more than 100% under both intercrop and sole crop. The yield of soya bean increased with increased number of soya bean rows, but did not differ in response to the cassava variety. However, cowpea yield was higher when intercropped with 'Ankra' than with 'Gblemoduade'. The intercrops had higher land use ratios (LER = 1.27-2.83) and were more stable than the sole crops. Intercrops involving 'Ankra' had higher LER (2.14-2.18) than systems with 'Gblemoduade' (LER = 1.83-1.99), but their yield stabilities were similar.