Corn-Soybean Intercropping Improved the Nutritional Quality of Forage Cultivated on Podzols in Boreal Climate

Zaeem, Muhammad and Nadeem, Muhammad and Pham, Thu Huong and Ashiq, Waqar and Ali, Waqas and Gillani, Syed Shah Mohioudin and Moise, Eric and Elavarthi, Sathya and Kavanagh, Vanessa and Cheema, Mumtaz and Galagedara, Lakshman and Thomas, Raymond Horatio (2021) Corn-Soybean Intercropping Improved the Nutritional Quality of Forage Cultivated on Podzols in Boreal Climate. Plants, 10 (5). ISSN 2223-7747

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Intercropping systems could be a potential source of nutrient-rich forage production in cool climates on podzolic soils common in boreal ecosystems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of corn–soybean intercropping (IC) on the nutritional quality of forage. Two silage corn varieties were cultivated as monocropping (MC) or were intercropped with three forage soybean varieties using a randomized complete block design. IC significantly increased the crude protein (22%) and decreased the acid detergent (14%) and neutral detergent (6%) fibers. Forage net energy, total digestible nutrients, ash, dry matter intake, digestible dry matter and relative feed value were also significantly increased (p ≤ 0.05) in the IC treatments compared to corn MC. The macro and micro nutrients were higher in IC than corn MC. Intercropping increased the omega 3 fatty acid (FA) contents (67%) compared to corn MC. IC also increased the active microbial community in the plant root zone, which may contribute to the improvement in forage nutritional quality because the active soil microbial community composition showed significant correlations with soluble sugars, soluble proteins and potassium contents of the forage. These results demonstrate that corn–soybean IC could be a suitable cropping system to increase the nutritional quality of forage cultivated on podzols in boreal climates. The resultant forage has the potential to be a source of high-value animal feed for livestock production in cool climate regions of the world.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 15417
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: forage quality, forage fatty acid composition, forage mineral composition, silage corn, forage soybean
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Science
Date: 19 May 2021
Date Type: Publication
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
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