Cropping systems sustainability: Inoculation and fertilisation effect on sulla performances in a new cultivation area

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Leonardo Sulas (1*), Giovanna Piluzza (2), Mauro Salis (3), Paola A. Deligios (4), Luigi Ledda (5), Simone Canu (6)

1 Institute for the Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment, National Research Council, Sassari, Italy.
2 Institute for the Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment, National Research Council, Sassari, Italy.
3 Institute for the Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment, National Research Council, Sassari, Italy.
4 Department of Agriculture Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy.
5 Department of Agriculture Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy.
6 Institute for Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council, Sassari, Italy.
(*) Corresponding Author:
Leonardo Sulas
l.sulas@cspm.ss.cnr.it
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9491-2972

Abstract

To assess the feasibility of the sulla [Sulla coronaria (L.) Medik] forage legume in a new agroecosystem, its host-specific symbiotic interaction needs to be taken into account. This study aimed to investigate the effects of inoculation and nitrogen (N) fertiliser on productive performances and N-fixation ability of sulla established in a new habitat within a Mediterranean agropastoral area. Sulla plants, previously inoculated (with peat-based, liquid inoculants, and using soil from an existing sulla field) and unfertilised or N fertilised were evaluated in Sardinia (Italy). During 2013-2014, sulla plants were sampled at four growing stages, from vegetative stage to seed set, and shoot length, shoot dry matter (DM) yield and N content were monitored. Moreover, atom% 15N isotopic excess, proportion of N derived from the atmosphere and fixed N of sulla shoots were quantified. Inoculation and N fertilisation both affected growth, DM and N yields, and N-fixation of sulla. Compared to the best inoculated treatment, the DM yield and fixed N of the control only represented 10 to 22% and 2 to 11%, respectively. Nitrogen fertilisation caused temporary decreases in the N fixing ability of sulla. Results pointed out that rhizobial inoculation is essential for the exploitation of sulla outside its traditional cropping area.

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How to Cite
Sulas, L., Piluzza, G., Salis, M., Deligios, P., Ledda, L., & Canu, S. (2017). Cropping systems sustainability: Inoculation and fertilisation effect on sulla performances in a new cultivation area. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 12(4). https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2017.938