Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Cereal cropping systems to reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides

A cropping system for cereals which will significantly reduce the chemical inputs in the form of fertilizers and pesticides has been developed. Work has shown that spores of Mycosphaerella graminicola (Septoria tritici) can be significantly impeded during dispersal by a clover base in a cereal/legume intercrop. The pathogen can be reduced with decreased nitrogen imputs and controlled using cereal cultivar diversification. Results showed the importance of elite combinations of Rhizobium and legume for maximum performance, and the legume nitrogen can satisfactorily support cereal growth. The commercial potential of a cereal/legume cropping system was shown to be equal or greater than that of a conventional high input system. Work also showed that 2 years are required for cereal/legume systems to manipulate the mycorrhizosphere of the soil/root environment and that the addition of a commercial mycorrhizal innoculant is unlikely to result in enhanced benefits to the cereal crop and would not be economically successful. It was possible to effectively control several cereal necrotrophs using leguminous inducers, but the field performance of such inducers was adversely affected by sub-optimal conditions.

Reported by

University College Dublin
Agriculture & Food Science Building, Belfield
4 Dublin
Ireland
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