Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures

Brechtje R. de Haas, Nyncke J. Hoekstra, Jan R. van der Schoot, Eric J.W. Visser, Hans de Kroon, Nick van Eekeren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Grass-clover mixtures show many benefits for sustainable agriculture. In the Netherlands, organic farmers often work together in a so-called partner farm concept, with the aim to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. In this system, arable farms grow one-year grass-clover leys, as fodder for a livestock farm, in exchange for, e.g., manure. This practice could also be used in the transition of conventional farms towards a more circular regenerative and nature inclusive agriculture. In the current experiment we assessed the effect of a range of grass (Lolium perenne: Lp, Lolium multiflorum: Lm) and clover (Trifolium pratense: Tp and Trifolium repens: Tr) monocultures and mixtures on both below- and aboveground parameters in light of benefits for livestock and arable farms, and biodiversity. The grass monocultures showed good weed suppression, high root density, and especially Lp had a positive effect on soil structure. Clover, on the other hand, showed high herbage dry matter yield (particularly Tp) and Nitrogen (N) yield, and Tr showed high digestibility. Moreover, clover had a positive effect on the soil mineral N, and earthworm abundance tended to be higher in the clover monocultures. When (some of) the four species were combined in grass-clover mixtures, they combined the positive effects of the species and often even outperformed the (best) monocultures. We concluded that grass-clover mixtures increased agro-ecological functions.

LanguageEnglish
Pages547-567
Number of pages21
JournalAIMS Agriculture and Food
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

Medicago
ecological function
Poaceae
grasses
farms
Trifolium
Lolium
Livestock
livestock
Agriculture
forage
Soil
Lolium multiflorum
Trifolium pratense
sustainable agriculture
Trifolium repens
soil structure
earthworms
Lolium perenne
Oligochaeta

Keywords

  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Lolium multiflorum
  • Lolium perenne
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Trifolium pratense
  • Trifolium repens

Cite this

de Haas, B. R., Hoekstra, N. J., van der Schoot, J. R., Visser, E. J. W., de Kroon, H., & van Eekeren, N. (2019). Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 4(3), 547-567. https://doi.org/10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547
de Haas, Brechtje R. ; Hoekstra, Nyncke J. ; van der Schoot, Jan R. ; Visser, Eric J.W. ; de Kroon, Hans ; van Eekeren, Nick. / Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures. In: AIMS Agriculture and Food. 2019 ; Vol. 4, No. 3. pp. 547-567.
@article{3130ea052bf942ff97a16df545c16334,
title = "Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures",
abstract = "Grass-clover mixtures show many benefits for sustainable agriculture. In the Netherlands, organic farmers often work together in a so-called partner farm concept, with the aim to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. In this system, arable farms grow one-year grass-clover leys, as fodder for a livestock farm, in exchange for, e.g., manure. This practice could also be used in the transition of conventional farms towards a more circular regenerative and nature inclusive agriculture. In the current experiment we assessed the effect of a range of grass (Lolium perenne: Lp, Lolium multiflorum: Lm) and clover (Trifolium pratense: Tp and Trifolium repens: Tr) monocultures and mixtures on both below- and aboveground parameters in light of benefits for livestock and arable farms, and biodiversity. The grass monocultures showed good weed suppression, high root density, and especially Lp had a positive effect on soil structure. Clover, on the other hand, showed high herbage dry matter yield (particularly Tp) and Nitrogen (N) yield, and Tr showed high digestibility. Moreover, clover had a positive effect on the soil mineral N, and earthworm abundance tended to be higher in the clover monocultures. When (some of) the four species were combined in grass-clover mixtures, they combined the positive effects of the species and often even outperformed the (best) monocultures. We concluded that grass-clover mixtures increased agro-ecological functions.",
keywords = "Agrobiodiversity, Lolium multiflorum, Lolium perenne, Regenerative agriculture, Trifolium pratense, Trifolium repens",
author = "{de Haas}, {Brechtje R.} and Hoekstra, {Nyncke J.} and {van der Schoot}, {Jan R.} and Visser, {Eric J.W.} and {de Kroon}, Hans and {van Eekeren}, Nick",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "12",
doi = "10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547",
language = "English",
volume = "4",
pages = "547--567",
journal = "AIMS Agriculture and Food",
issn = "2471-2086",
number = "3",

}

de Haas, BR, Hoekstra, NJ, van der Schoot, JR, Visser, EJW, de Kroon, H & van Eekeren, N 2019, 'Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures', AIMS Agriculture and Food, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 547-567. https://doi.org/10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547

Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures. / de Haas, Brechtje R.; Hoekstra, Nyncke J.; van der Schoot, Jan R.; Visser, Eric J.W.; de Kroon, Hans; van Eekeren, Nick.

In: AIMS Agriculture and Food, Vol. 4, No. 3, 12.07.2019, p. 547-567.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Combining agro-ecological functions in grass-clover mixtures

AU - de Haas, Brechtje R.

AU - Hoekstra, Nyncke J.

AU - van der Schoot, Jan R.

AU - Visser, Eric J.W.

AU - de Kroon, Hans

AU - van Eekeren, Nick

PY - 2019/7/12

Y1 - 2019/7/12

N2 - Grass-clover mixtures show many benefits for sustainable agriculture. In the Netherlands, organic farmers often work together in a so-called partner farm concept, with the aim to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. In this system, arable farms grow one-year grass-clover leys, as fodder for a livestock farm, in exchange for, e.g., manure. This practice could also be used in the transition of conventional farms towards a more circular regenerative and nature inclusive agriculture. In the current experiment we assessed the effect of a range of grass (Lolium perenne: Lp, Lolium multiflorum: Lm) and clover (Trifolium pratense: Tp and Trifolium repens: Tr) monocultures and mixtures on both below- and aboveground parameters in light of benefits for livestock and arable farms, and biodiversity. The grass monocultures showed good weed suppression, high root density, and especially Lp had a positive effect on soil structure. Clover, on the other hand, showed high herbage dry matter yield (particularly Tp) and Nitrogen (N) yield, and Tr showed high digestibility. Moreover, clover had a positive effect on the soil mineral N, and earthworm abundance tended to be higher in the clover monocultures. When (some of) the four species were combined in grass-clover mixtures, they combined the positive effects of the species and often even outperformed the (best) monocultures. We concluded that grass-clover mixtures increased agro-ecological functions.

AB - Grass-clover mixtures show many benefits for sustainable agriculture. In the Netherlands, organic farmers often work together in a so-called partner farm concept, with the aim to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. In this system, arable farms grow one-year grass-clover leys, as fodder for a livestock farm, in exchange for, e.g., manure. This practice could also be used in the transition of conventional farms towards a more circular regenerative and nature inclusive agriculture. In the current experiment we assessed the effect of a range of grass (Lolium perenne: Lp, Lolium multiflorum: Lm) and clover (Trifolium pratense: Tp and Trifolium repens: Tr) monocultures and mixtures on both below- and aboveground parameters in light of benefits for livestock and arable farms, and biodiversity. The grass monocultures showed good weed suppression, high root density, and especially Lp had a positive effect on soil structure. Clover, on the other hand, showed high herbage dry matter yield (particularly Tp) and Nitrogen (N) yield, and Tr showed high digestibility. Moreover, clover had a positive effect on the soil mineral N, and earthworm abundance tended to be higher in the clover monocultures. When (some of) the four species were combined in grass-clover mixtures, they combined the positive effects of the species and often even outperformed the (best) monocultures. We concluded that grass-clover mixtures increased agro-ecological functions.

KW - Agrobiodiversity

KW - Lolium multiflorum

KW - Lolium perenne

KW - Regenerative agriculture

KW - Trifolium pratense

KW - Trifolium repens

U2 - 10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547

DO - 10.3934/agrfood.2019.3.547

M3 - Article

VL - 4

SP - 547

EP - 567

JO - AIMS Agriculture and Food

T2 - AIMS Agriculture and Food

JF - AIMS Agriculture and Food

SN - 2471-2086

IS - 3

ER -