Improving sustainable production of home-grown forage for livestock
: evaluating the potential of field bean (Vicia faba L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) variety mixtures as bi-crop opportunity

  • Donwell M. A. Kamalongo

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Field experiments were carried out between 2015 and 2016 spring cropping seasons at the Royal Agricultural University farm, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England (51° 42' 33.6" N 1° 59' 40.7" W) to evaluate spring faba bean cultivars in mixture with wheat towards improving sustainable production of home-grown forage for livestock. The four drilling patterns and two faba bean cultivars were evaluated against their corresponding sole crops of wheat and bean in a randomised complete block design replicated four times. The density of bi-crops was decided by substituting half the density of sole crops with additional crop. The cropping seasons significantly affected the treatments responses. Bi-cropping system significantly outperformed sole cropping system on various plant performances metrics across the two years. Bi-cropping increased land productivity up to 50% over sole cropping in 2015 with no land productivity advantage in 2016. Bi-cropping showed a significant increase in the Chlorophyll Concentration Index (CCI) over sole cropping system. Leaf Area Index (LAI), Intercepted Photosynthetic Active Radiation (IPAR) and Radiation Use Efficiency (RUE) were significantly higher in bi-cropping over sole cropping system by 71.4%, 14.8 and 35.7% respectively. Bi-cropping significantly outperformed sole cropping by 49.8% whilst giving better weed control, demonstrating its potential to counteract herbicide use. Sole bean had the lowest weed control effect compared to sole wheat. Dry matter yield and crude protein were significantly higher in bi-cropping than sole cropping. Bean N yield and wheat N harvest index was significantly higher in bi-cropping than sole cropping. Cropping system did not significantly affect bean crude protein. Fuego was more vulnerable to field biotic stress infestation than Maris Bead. Drilling patterns significantly influenced resource-use in bi-cropping systems. Alternate rows significantly influenced higher resource-use and land productivity over broadcast bi-cropping. Alternate rows arranged as 2x2 spatial configuration had the highest productivity in bi-cropping over other drilling patterns treatments. The seasonal variability significantly determined the performance of the 1x1 alternate rows treatment. The 3x3 reduced the productivity of bi-cropping. Contrasting bean morphological traits distinguished their ecological services on IPAR and weed control in the system. Fuego beans had higher wheat crude protein and N uptake than Maris Bead. Maris Bead had higher bean seed crude protein than Fuego. The 2015 growing season showed improved competitiveness of bi-crops on resource-use than in 2016 growing season. Bi-cropping treatments showed potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and reduce use of synthetic fertilisers.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
  • Royal Agricultural University
SponsorsThe John Oldacre Foundation
SupervisorNicola Cannon (Supervisor) & John S. Conway (Supervisor)

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