Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 995-1006

Biologic dinitrogen fixation and nutrient cycling in cover crops and their effect on organic Conilon coffee

Luiz Partelli, FábioDuarte Vieira, HenriquePetrônio de Brito Ferreira, EndersonPio Viana, AlexandreAntonio Azevedo Espindola, JoséUrquiaga, SegundoMichael Boddey, Robert

Notwithstanding its relevance, studies regarding nutrient cycling and biological dinitrogen fixation in Conilon coffee (Coffee canephora cv. Conilon) associated with cover plants are very scarce. Aiming to evaluate the contribution of cover crops for organic conilon production, a field experiment was carried out consisting of Pennisetum glaucum, and legume species Canavalia ensiformis, Mucuna deeringiana and Cajanus cajan (inoculated and non inoculated) cultivated between coffee trees, and spontaneous vegetation as cover crops. The experiment was carried out in Espírito Santo State- Brazil, in a 6.5 years old coffee crop production system. Chemical analyses of soil and vegetative parts of spontaneous and cover crops, as well as coffee leaf nutrients concentration were performed. Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) was determined by the natural abundance method. BNF contributed with about 80% of the nitrogen accumulated by the leguminous plants, corresponding to 27 - 35 kg of N ha-1. Concentration and accumulation of nutrients varied among cover crops. Rhizobium inoculation did not influence nutrient cycling or BNF. Legume plants partially supplied the nitrogen requirements of Conilon coffee. No significant effect of the treatments was observed on the nutrient concentration of Conilon coffee or on plant growth.

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