Studies have revealed that growing crop legumes in rotation with cereals can often reduce the need for nitrogen fertiliser inputs by 40 to 80 kilograms per hectare, and improve crop productivity.
Basic principles and practical management information relating to nitrogen fixation by crop legumes is contained in a new fact sheet released by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
It outlines how to maximise the benefits from legumes by using high yielding legume varieties that are not constrained by issues such as insects, disease, weeds or nutrient deficiencies.
The ability of legumes to form a mutually beneficial association with rhizobia and fix atmospheric nitrogen gas enables them to grow in almost any soil without nitrogen fertiliser. They also supply nitrogen to following crops.
The Nitrogen Fixation fact sheet is contained in the July-August edition of the GRDC magazine Ground Cover and can be downloaded from www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-NFixation-Legumes.
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827