Nawa Raj Dhamala


Nawa Raj Dhamala


Project title: Nitrogen fixation in legumes of high-diversity low-input grasslands and contribution to soil fertility

Project description: Grassland production system is one indispensible part of global food production system; where sustainable management of N resources is one of the important concerns. Several studies suggest diversity of legumes and non-legumes as a best tool to improve N availability, internal N cycle and soil fertility enhancing N2 fixation and transfer to non-fixing species primarily in low-input and organic system. However, such benefits are highly regulated by competitiveness of species in mixture, cutting management, and fertilization.

The majority of measurements and recommendations regarding N2 fixation and other N processes in grassland systems are confined to few clover, lucerne and grass species, and their mixture. Very few studies have looked at mixture of forage legumes, and included forb species in mixture. However, there are different forb species which are strong competitors in mixture and are important for quality meat, animal health, and mineral nutrition. So far, however, very little is known about N2 fixation and other N processes. So, the aim of this study is to generate the knowledge to provide basic tool to select plant species to optimize diversity, N2 fixation, and N transfer, and maximize NUE, biomass production, and soil fertility to develop more sustainable and productive grassland production system. The primary focuses will be on incorporating three interesting forb species: Chicory, Plantain and Caraway in standard grass-legume mixture of red clover and perennial ryegrass, and new diversified mixtures of three forage legume species: red clover, white clover and lucerne.

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