The major function of clover in a winter wheat—white clover intercropping system is to supply nitrogen (N) for the wheat. A field experiment was conducted at Yucheng Comprehensive Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to evaluate the effect of cutting white clover on N fixation and the transfer of fixed N to the associated winter wheat. A method of 15N natural abundance was used to determine the nitrogen dynamics in the intercropping system. The results showed that the amount of N transferred from the clover to the wheat, throughout the growing season, varied between 34.4 and 57.5 kg ha-1. Compared to leaving the clover standing, cutting the clover increased the amount of N that accumulated in the soil and also resulted in reduced N concentrations in the leaves and stems of the wheat. Using the cut clover as mulch between wheat rows led to decreased N concentrations in the wheat plants' leaves and stems. The present study provides preliminary information on the amount of N transferred from clover to wheat in an intercropping system.
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Vol. 3 • No. 1