Effects of Different Planting Patterns on the Growth and Yield of Maize and Soybean in Northwest China

  •  L. Shen    
  •  X. Y. Wang    
  •  T. T. Yang    
  •  Y. X. Teng    
  •  T. T. Liu    
  •  L. H. Li    
  •  W. Zhang    


Aboveground and belowground interactions are crucial in the over-yielding of intercropping systems. However, the relative effects of aboveground and belowground interactions on yields in maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max) intercropping systems are still unclear. Field experiments, including measurements of plant height, soil-plant analysis development (SPAD) value, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), root length density (RLD), root volume density (RVD), and grain yield, were conducted in 2018-2019 to analyze the advantages and effects of above-ground and belowground inter-species interactions. This study adopted three different planting patterns: mono-cropping maize (MM), mono-cropping soybeans (MS), and maize-soybean intercropping (IM and IS). This study showed that intercropping promotes the growth of maize and makes maize have a better photosynthetic environment, while the growth of intercropping soybeans is inhibited and the photosynthetic environment becomes worse. In the upper layer (0-40 cm) and close to the plants, the root growth and distribution of intercropped maize increased, resulting in greater root length density and volume density, while the root growth and distribution of intercropped soybean decreased, resulting in lower root length density and volume density. The intercropping increased the maize yield by 18.52-19.8%, and reduced the soybean yield by 55.87-57.44%. The results indicated that intercropping improves the competitiveness of maize and reduces the competitiveness of soybeans. The increase in maize yield made up for the loss of soybean yield and led to an overall significant advantage in the maize-soybean intercropping system.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.