Cotton lint yields can be increased by up to 18 per cent when cotton crops are rotated with crops of a little known legume, vetch, according to a team of researchers at CSIRO Plant Industry.
Following an eight-year study the team found that vetch fixes large amounts of nitrogen, increases soil organic matter, improves soil structure, makes cultivation easier, increases soil water holding capacity and reduces the incidence of black root rot.
"Data from 2003 show when vetch is used the cotton gross margin per hectare is increased by $390 within continuous cotton rotation and by $270 in wheat/cotton rotation due to the reduced need for nitrogen fertiliser and increased lint yield," says Dr Ian Rochester, CSIRO Plant Industry.
Bill Stephens | CSIRO
http://www.pi.csiro.au/enewsletter/main.htm or www.csiro.au/vetch
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